I used to be a track runner. The 400 was my favorite race, but there was one part I feared the most: the start. It required getting into perfect position with the blocks set just right. And then the guy standing on the podium would announce through the giant megaphone the three dreaded words, “ready…set…go!” Just one misstep out of those blocks and it could cost you the race.
Sometimes we think of life’s opportunities in a similar way. We want to be in perfect position and fully prepared before we dive head deep into big life decisions. Whether it’s a new job, a new relationship or a new way of serving God, we want to make sure we’re fully “ready” before we fully commit.
Is it just me?
Perhaps there is nothing wrong with wanting to be fully ready and prepared for something new God might be calling us into. After all, we want to be wise stewards of the gifts, time and talents we have been given. But there are times when God calls us to obey Him before we feel fully ready. Remember Joshua? He was charged with the monumental task of taking over Moses’ job of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. Imagine how ill-equipped he felt! In fact, he was so visibly scared God actually had to encourage him with these words,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Perhaps there is a word in there for us today as young adults facing so many decisions. Big. Major. Monumental ones like: Who should I date? Who should I marry? Where should I work? How should I serve God? How can I make my mark? Where should I live? Should I have kids? Fears of various kinds can keep us from taking courageous steps into the unknown, like:
Fear of making the wrong decision.
Fear of stepping “outside” of God’s will (as if it is a linear path).
Fear of not being ready enough (like Joshua).
What fears are nuzzling into the deep crevasses of your heart right now?
Naming them is a good thing. But then again, if God really is with us wherever we go, as He promises to be, what are we so afraid?
As a woman going through a season of perpetual transition — into a newly married life, living in a new country, beginning a new graduate program, making new friends, considering starting a family, and how to live out my calling in the future — I realize more than ever, we can never be as completely ready or perfectly prepared as we may want to be for the next season God is calling us into. There are just some things in which preparedness only comes as we humbly and obediently walk it out—with God by our side.
May I suggest that when facing a new job, relationship, or some other kind opportunity God puts before us, the trick perhaps is not total readiness, but total dependence on the Author and Creator of our souls. The more we acknowledge our own weakness, the more His strength can come in. The more we embrace our incapability, the more capable He is to do His work through us. The more utterly and totally dependent we become on our Father in Heaven for wisdom, guidance, grace and power each step of the way, the more we experience the truly abundant life Jesus promised (see John 10:10). Not easy maybe, but abundant.
What is the unknown territory God is calling you into? What are the “Moses shoes” God is asking you to fill? Instead of waiting for the “ready…set…” before you go (as any wise runner would), just decide to go for it, trusting the ready and set part will come along the way. The God we serve isn’t known for calling those who are already equipped, but equipping those He has already called.
So, now is the time to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. So, go!
(A version of this article appeared originally in the Brink Magazine)