The Gift of Preparation
Webster defines preparation as: "the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty."
In life, we have many opportunities to prepare. Yet, we sometimes refer to preparation as a duty or chore. Consider the difference- "I have to study for a test." VS. "I have time to study so I can do great on this test." Or, "I've got to prepare the agenda for the meeting." VS. "How can I craft an agenda that leads to engagement and great meeting outcomes?"
Then, there are major areas of preparation. We prepare our children for life by modeling healthy habits and teaching them daily. We prepare for a new career by going back to school or improving our skills. We prepare for death by creating a will or an estate.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I am more aware of the gift of preparation. I've had a month to prepare mentally for my major surgery. I've had a month to prepare at work for tasks in my absence. I've had a month to prepare my home for the recuperation process.
English Writer Harriet Martineau once said "You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow."
This time has made me think about what we do with the time we're given. May the questions I'm processing below help you as you think about what you're preparing for.......because we're all preparing for something.
1. What am I doing with the time I have? Do I spend my time on things that are helpful, useful and will improve life for others or myself?
2. What is "mission critical" that must be prepared? And, what can wait?
a. If it can wait, what process can I put in place to ensure it ends up in the work cue?
3. In light of eternity, what truly matters? This question came from a dear friend, Chuck Shaughnessy whose days were filled making major decisions as an executive at an international company but yet had an eternal perspective on everything. When he first asked me this over three years ago, it stopped me in my tracks. I thank him for this question and reminding me of what really matters. At the end of the day, is what I'm working on going to matter in 1,000 years? Have I made peace with God? Myself? My impact on the world?
I've processed these questions over the past month. I've thought about death and life after death. A little over a week ago, an acquaintance an member of our Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance died tragically in a car accident. She didn't get the time to prepare. She was on her way to work for what was going to be a normal day. She didn't know she would step into eternity before lunch. Someone else would have to clean out her desk. Her family would have to pack up her clothes and treasured possessions. She would have no time to say goodbye.
I've thought about what will happen if I don't wake up from anesthesia this week. I'm as prepared as I can be. And, I am ready for eternity. My heartfelt prayer is that everyone reading this post will think, not of the day to day stressors that make up life, but rather, living a life that prepares you for eternity.
1. Have you discovered who the God of the Universe really is? I have experienced the depth of God's love for me and how very personal He speaks to those that call on His name. Have you?
"God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it."
Psalm 145:18 The Message
2. Have you lived the life you were called to live? I have tried to live my mission of "speaking to inspire" each day. I try to leave everyone I come in contact with better than they were before. What about you? Are you living your purpose?
“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
3. What is left undone that you need to do? Are there things I'd still like to accomplish, yes. Am I totally ready to be out of work for an extended period of time, no. However, I've had the gift of time to prepare. What is undone in your life that you have the gift of time to get done?
Here's to making the most of the gift of preparation!
Looking forward to sharing more on the other side of my surgery!