Although it’s the middle of January I’ve known for a few months that 2018 would be the year of focusing on the word “ready” and I’ve been taking strategic steps to make sure I could begin the year ready to focus on being ready 😉
As I said earlier this week the only constant in the life of a football family that no two years will look the same. This is true for everyone to some degree, but there are certain scenarios where change is intensified, and coaching is one of them.
For years I handled the constant change by trying to control everything that could be controlled. Extreme meal planning and elaborate freezer cooking plans, purging like clockwork anything that seemed to clutter the basement, researching everything.
At some point, this became impossible as my health suffered from hypothyroidism, and so from there I entered survival mode and did only what I needed to do to get through each day. In neither of these life stages did I consider what my personal future might hold. I rarely asked God what he was calling me to do outside of the immediate present.
Annie Downs often says that she doesn’t know what God is calling her to do next; she just goes back to the last thing she is certain about and continues to do that. It could be serving in a ministry or waiting faithfully, either way, she’s being obedient.
And that’s the difference between doing great things and doing what God is calling us to do. Great things are, well, they are great, but they may not be ours to do. And when we busy ourselves doing things we lose space for all that God actually has created us to do.
Several years ago the book Anything by Jennie Allen wrecked me. If you haven’t read it, I suggest it if you are looking to learn more about how God can use the smallest prayers to bring about the biggest changes.
Jennie reminded me that although it is important to nurture the calling of our children, and it is a privilege to cheer on others as they seek mentorship in pursuing their dreams things don’t end there. God has a calling for every person, even the stay-at-home mom who has allowed stress to rule her days.
Here’s the thing about praying anything. I was not ready for God to answer the prayer I was willing to pray. Hear me here, because this is important. I’m not saying I wasn’t perfect yet. I’m not saying I needed to look a certain way or do something before I was ready. What I mean is that my heart and head were not ready for God to move.
When we began praying “anything” life turned upside down.
- We moved
- We said goodbye to easy
- We established a new ministry
- We learned to fight for our marriage
- We watched our kids suffer for the first time
Our prayer felt like a mistake for months, and yet, God still moved, because we had asked him to and because he knew what we didn’t yet understand. We were more ready than we thought. We had to tools in our tool belt, we just needed the faith to trust we knew how to use them.
As 2017 wrapped up, there was a familiarity in the air I couldn’t place my thumb on. A sense of deja vu that held equal parts dread and anticipation. My “anything prayer” has shifted a bit, not out of caution. I’ve learned cautious prayer is not caution, it is the attempt to control, and that limits God. More than that, my year of being still helped me sharpen my ear to the Lord’s whisper.
Many things are good and even Biblical that we are individually not called to pursue. In Emily Ley’s words add balance to my new prayer. I’m striving to have each part of my life work together rather than compete for time and attention.
Instead, my prayer is focused on the way God has stirred my heart and whispers he’s planted in the past several months. With a surrendered heart my prayers for 2018 circle the word “ready.”
- God help me to be ready for the full calling of the path you have placed me on and the help me to identify the people who are to join me in the next phase of this life journey.
- God help me to trust that I only need to be ready for today and that you will prepare me for tomorrow.
- God direct my feet in the shadow of your steps. Help me to stay in your footprints by seeing them clearly.
I’ve got Hillsong’s Shadow Step on repeat in the CD player and Ephesians 3:20-21 as my verses for the year. Do you have a word of the year?