It is quite an interesting but exciting season for me right now because at the end of August, me and my husband will welcome our first child! It is a season full of learning, waiting, resting (at least trying to), savoring and preparing. I made it through the first trimester woes to now be in that sweet spot where I have my energy back and I have fully thrown myself into preparation mode.
Get the nursery ready.
Make the registry.
Buy the baby necessities.
Schedule the doctor appointments.
Read the baby books.
Schedule the classes.
I look at my list of things to do and some evenings I feel like my brain is in overdrive with all the tasks I have written down, decisions to make, and things I think about. I want to be prepared and have everything in order. While a lot of the planning is fun and I have enjoyed it, I have noticed that just checking off something on my list is not making me feel less anxious. I have been wrestling with this pull to do more and to keep adding to my list. Fix this and I will feel better. Organize that and I will feel better. If I check off all my boxes, I will feel prepared.
Think of it this way:
Have you ever hosted a party or had guests over and before they arrive you need to clean and tidy your house. You may have two options. You can take the time, tackle every mess head on OR you can shove all your clutter and mess into the closet that you know no one will open, so you don’t have to deal with it now. If I organize and clean what looks good on the outside and looks presentable, I can just ignore that mess and chaos that I have shoved into the closet. It’s the “I will deal with it later” mindset.
It’s the easy tidying that we can do that doesn’t take as much work or effort. To the outside eye your house looks great, neat and organized, but you know there is a closet full of mess and clutter that is being ignored and pushed aside. You may forget about it and open that closet a month later and everything falls on top of you or it may be in the back of your mind constantly weighing and nagging you.
I have found myself focusing on the easy kind of tidying, the to-do lists, the fun side of preparation and shoving the mess and clutter of my anxieties, my fears and my nerves about this next season of life into that back closet to deal with at a later date. But as I accomplish each task, I find myself asking why I still feel this anxiety, this feeling of restlessness, and it’s because I have been lacking in the other type of preparation.
This is the type of preparation that acknowledges the fears and anxiety head on, that looks into the messy closet and goes “okay, what can we sort through today?”
I am sure you have heard this phrase in church, and it talks about it in scripture, and although it may seem like that cliché Christian phrase, but I have neglected the preparation of my heart and my mind for what is to come. If I don’t stop ignoring those fears and anxieties and approach them face on, come August, I am going to be a wreck. So, here are a few ways I have been shifting my focus to do the important preparation.
Preparation by way of Prayer
Bringing all my worries, anxieties, and fears to the Lord, telling Him my concerns, and releasing the burdens to him that I face. Being more diligent in praying specifically for wisdom and for His will to be done.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Preparation by way of Trusting
Trust that God is in control of the things that I cannot. He knows what the future holds, and I must trust that He is going to prepare a way. Releasing my anxiety and fear of what may happen, what may not happen, the good and the bad. All the “what ifs” that can swirl around in your head, but no matter what He is still good and He cares for us.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
Preparation by way of Learning.
I have been learning more through God’s Word about His will, dependence on Him and staying rooted in my faith. By digging deeper, learning more and placing scripture on the forefront of my mind, I can use that as tools to combat when the anxiety and restlessness start to creep in.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Deuteronomy 11:18
For most things in life, we must prepare. We want to go to the big meeting feeling confident and ready to present. We want to approach the game knowing our opponent and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We put in the time, the effort, the hard work, the thorough research, all of this so that we are ready for what is to come, prepared for the questions, the curveballs and trick plays.
But here is the kicker, what I have come to realize most is that we can do all the preparation in the world, we can be as thorough as possible and think of all the possible scenarios, but we may not ever be fully prepared for what comes at us. That is why our best preparation we can do is trusting in the Lord, putting the work, and investing in our faith, because when that curveball is thrown our way and our to-do list is out thrown out the window, He is what we can cling to, the rock that we can stand firm on in times where everything around us feels unstable.
As August approaches, I may not be fully prepared for what is to come, but I can be fully prepared to place my trust, my identity and my faith in Christ, the foundation of which my faith rests and the hope I have my eyes set, so no matter what I face next, I am confident that He is good, He is faithful and His will be done.