Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished” –1 Chronicles 28:20
The concept of “Always Be Prepared” is one that I have carried with me from the limited time I spent as a Boy Scout. In my adult life I have interpreted this to mean that if I am well prepared through dedication, hard work and strategic planning, that I will be successful. The reality is that this is not always the case and while preparing is critical, so is expecting the unexpected.
I was speaking with a friend who was recently asked by his senior leadership to explain why he was missing his forecast through the first half of this year. Based on my relationship with him and his approach to many aspects of life, I expected him to build a thorough presentation that could address any challenge they would use to tear him down. As I thought about him preparing for battle, I sent him a text the morning of his presentation with the highlighted section of the verse above to provide him spiritual support. However he had sent me an e-mail that crossed with mine in cyber-space about his preparation that truly impressed me. He shared that after praying and listening to an inspiration podcast that morning, he would begin his presentation by thanking them for meeting with him and reposition his approach and mindset to believe he would be helped rather than attacked. I was in awe of his approach and was not surprised that things went well for him.
I realize his outcome might not have been the same for all of us but it reminded me of those who prepared for the Boston Marathon this past April. Many of my friends had trained hard all winter and had various goals set for this historic race. Despite the warnings from race officials and the media that temperatures would be above 80¢F, many stuck to their plans and went out too hard in unfavorable conditions. Some may have thought that they were in control while others may have just hoped for the best. Unfortunately most of them missed both their goals and the finish line. They didn’t make adjustments and most ended up as a DNF (Did Not Finish) or visiting an EMT (Emergency Medical Tent).
However one friend had trained hard with the goal to set a personal best that would have definitely been under 3 hours. She was wise and unlike many others who crashed and burned, she adjusted her plans. The modifications she made paid off as she missed the goals she had initially set but had an amazing race, finishing in the top 50 females at Boston!
We must all work hard to prepare for whatever we are looking to achieve. However we must always have contingency plans, must be flexible, and be prepared to face the unexpected. In racing preparation is part mental and part physical and includes: running in the rain or heat when others may head to the treadmill, taking time to listen to those with experience, and praying for guidance and understanding. We must accept that we do not know what lies ahead and we ultimately must be prepared to surrender to His will and not ours.