It is a tricky question.
When I am being loaded into a roller coaster with one of my daughters and I look at her and ask, Are You Ready? she is all grins and nods as she holds on to the safety bars just lowered all around her, and with great anticipation, we roll.
On the other hand…
When we are leaving the house at about the same time we should have already been there, and I ask my wife sweetly, Are You Ready? I don’t get the same grin or expression. As a matter of fact, I ought not to write about what I sometimes get. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have asked.
Turning to the child you are dropping off at college or getting back in the car with your wife after doing so, two very different versions of the same question… Are you ready?
Walking into a funeral or walking into a wedding… Are You Ready?
Walking into a weekend conference or walking away from a weekend conference… Are You Ready?
The more I ponder the question, the more I am convinced it is a deeply familiar one. I believe it is so familiar because Jesus seems to be asking it of me ALL THE TIME. And my answers vary.
This life of adventure into which Jesus has invited me is full of this question. This life of Training, Healing, Observation, and Dependence. Becoming like Him is truly an adventure and it is violently opposed. Am I ready for battle, accusation, diminishment? Am I ready for power, authority, overcoming, and victory? So few see the opposition. Therefore, it clouds or impedes their ability to answer well.
The "answer well" is YES, because you, Christ, are with me… YES.
And then there is the next question, though it may be on the heels of a one-minute roller coaster ride or after a long season of uncertainty or pain…
How Did it Go?
I’ll have to think some more on this one but my first thought is the two questions are profoundly related… my orientation and expectations when asked Are You Ready? play directly into my answers to How Did it Go?
As God moves me forward in this Life (and that is His aim and goal to move all of us forward) to becoming more and more like Jesus, anticipation and reflection are necessary. Both require a slowing down of time, and both invite me to be very, very present to Him, his voice, his instruction and direction.
How many moments in a day is God in? My answer is always related to whether or not I am looking and listening for Him—engaging in and doing my part in the growing up of me. Most men (and women) miss much of what God is up to in their lives because of a smaller story syndrome best described as "life with me in the center of it and everyone and everything is revolving around me."
I have discovered, with a great deal of God’s patient help, that is no way to live and not the story in which He meant for me to live. When He is at the center of my story, the adventure comes alive, my perceptions and observations are more keen, the experiences, destinations, and reflections are full, and I see and hear God. And doesn’t that make some sense? It is the kind of life God promised… Full. You and I were made for something Large. Epic, in fact, and answering these questions each day or maybe even several times a day has made a big difference in how I live in this Love Story set amidst the great Battle.
Which question is for you today?
Are You Ready? or
How Did it Go?
Dear God, Holy Trinity, thank you for today. Your word promises trials and struggles for your men and women. Your word shares that each day has enough trouble of its own and that we are to be careful, awake, alert… paying attention. We confess, God, we get careless, fall asleep, become bored, and suffer from a spiritual kind of ADD. Bring us back, Jesus; gently, kindly bring us back to Life again.
Father, thank you for wanting us, wanting us as your sons and daughters, coming after us with a heavy ransom… Jesus. We receive your Life today, the larger life for which we were/are intended. Father, we declare your Love over our lives this day. We proclaim we are yours, and you are ours and receive into our lives all the blessings and all the provisions for a Full Life.
Jesus, we worship you and thank you for showing us what a Life in God and with God the Father looks like. You are our King, Shepherd, and Savior, and we are committing again this day to our training, healing, and restoration—becoming more and more like you Jesus! Thank you for winning us back through your Cross, for establishing us on a path of restoration through your Resurrection, and for equipping us with power and authority through your Ascension. You reign over all creation, and we take our place in your Kingdom wielding the authority and power you give us over all lies, foul spirits, and over everything the kingdom of darkness has set up for us to live small, to be imprisoned, to be compromised and living less. We bring the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ over our hearts, our homes, marriages and families, our work, and all of our domain… we bring it all under the provision and protection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and cast all darkness aside in the name of Jesus and by the great work of Christ on our behalf.
Holy Spirit, we receive you again into our lives this day. We confess, we need you and we are utterly dependent on you in the most glorious of ways. Are we Ready? Yes, Holy Spirit. We also pray for a wise and discerning heart. Guide us and teach us how to reflect, how to take into account what is going on inside us and around us, how to observe and pay attention, able to learn all you have for us in every circumstance. Alter our Expectations, Holy Spirit… get us out and off the cruise ship mentality and into the battle front in which we truly exist.
We declare we love you and thank you God for all the Good you are up to in our lives.
Mighty God, bless the coming Heart of a Warrior Weekend (10 days away). Prompt any hearts with the question, Are You Ready? Ready to get away with you and discover the Larger Life and glorious adventure in which you are continually inviting us into. Prepare the women for their Deepening Weekend this fall. Woo your sons and daughters away to a time of rest and times of healing and training. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts engaged in your heart for us and the world. In Jesus' matchless name we pray, Amen and AMEN.