This morning my mind flashed back to the time when my son was 3-years-old. He was excited about going to visit overnight with his cousins. I noticed his turtle-shaped overnight bag was packed and waiting by the door but I assumed my husband had prepared it for the trip. He assumed the same about me. In an effort to make sure he hadn’t left anything out, I unzipped the sweet suitcase for one last inspection. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Tucked inside the green fabric case was a motley assortment of items: one pair of fuzzy flannel pajama pants, a Christmas bear sweater vest and a miniature football. “Who packed this bag?” I asked, knowing the answer already. “I did,” Sam stated proudly. “I’m ready to go!”
My heart couldn’t contain the chuckles as my mind flashed pictures of him playing football the next day in a pair of flannel pj pants and a sweater vest.
He thought he was ready. In reality, he didn’t even know what he needed to be “ready” – he just grabbed a few things he knew he liked and settled in for the trip. That’s why he has parents.
I wonder how many times I thought I was “ready” to move on to the next thing on my journey. Did God look at my preparation and chuckle? Was I focused on the soft and cuddly things, the fun things or things that just didn’t matter much?
How do we know the difference between what matters and just what matters to us?
1. Search for God’s Will.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Is what you want to do God’s best for you? Pray for open and shut doors. I recently interviewed for a great job in my area. I prayed going into it that I would have favor but I also prayed that God would make it abundantly clear if this door should be shut. Slam. I will admit, the closed door does sometimes feel like it hits your nose. I was disappointed, at first. But then I became excited knowing God had something even better in mind if He wanted my time free from the stress of a new position. Instead, I devoted a larger portion of my time preparing for the ministry He has already placed before me.
2. Ask for direction during your journey.
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133
Every day is a battle for my time. When the children go to school and I’m at home alone, it is so easy to hit that soft, cool pillow and snooze the morning away. I have done that. Instead, now I ask God to direct my calendar and my list for the day. What should I be doing with this day, God? What will please You? The pleasure of obedience is much more gratifying than a few more hours of sleep.
3. Get up and move.
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matthew 11:12
We all have a responsibility to advance the kingdom. Each person has different skills and talents. Ask God where your place is within His current work. Most of us want to be used in a big way and we think the only “big” thing we can do is serve in a foreign country or raising lots of money for a cause. God’s kingdom is in our homes. Mothers and fathers have enormous responsibilities in their own children. Teach them about God. Actively serve with them. Advance the kingdom together.
God wants us to move and prepare with an eager heart. Today, ask Him what He wants you to do with your day. You may need a Christmas bear sweater vest.