I am a painter. Not a painter of landscapes or still-life portraits. Not a painter that uses watercolors or acrylics. I’m a painter of walls, trim, bookcases, furniture and anything else the interior decorator of our home (my wife) asks me to paint. I use water-based latex. I don’t particularly like to paint, mind you, but I love to have painted. (If you know what I mean.) What fires my dislike for painting is the preparation: spackling, cleaning, and taping before I brush or roll on those beautiful colors. These laborious and time consuming tasks are about as exciting as poking yourself in the eye with a stick. But they are necessary. The reason one goes through the ordeal and pain of the sanding and scraping and spackling is stated in bold letters on every paint can. THE KEY TO A GOOD JOB IS PREPARATION. Truer words were never written.
Think of all the preparation we do. We prepare meals, reports, and for travel. We prepare for ballgames and birthday parties. We prepare for college and we prepare for job interviews. But how often do we prepare for life?
The paint can states: The key to a good job is preparation. Those words are also true for life: The key to a good life is preparation.
Abraham Lincoln often said, “I want to live in such a way that when I am called I’m ready.” On another occasion, he said, “If I had ten hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend the first eight sharpening my ax.” Benjamin Disraeli, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, echoed Lincoln’s words, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
Few things are as sacred to modern people as adequate preparation. What do we prepare for? Usually it boils down to what to do next, knowing why that is important, and knowing how to bring appropriate resources to bear on the need at hand. All effective people seem to have found a system to initiate and monitor these elements.
The preparation for life is most always is done away from the masses. We need to schedule into our calendar time each day to make preparations for the day. And time each week to examine where we have been and where we are going.
Examination of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going is a critical component of preparation. Often, we don’t think about such things until we have plenty of time to think about such things, like when we are going through a divorce, or have lost our job, or spending time in a hospital room as a parent dies. My suggestion is that we probe into our lives each day to determine our plan of action.
Will you be ready when your name is called? Will you be able to sleep when the wind blows? Will you be prepared for the opportunities that come your way?
Did you know that if we practiced love our relationships would be stronger, our jobs would be more meaningful, and our ailments would be fewer? Earlier this year I wrote an encouraging book on love called Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love. The book gets its title from perhaps the greatest statement ever made on love in 1 Corinthians 13. This book provides a guide to love, and, if practiced, it will make us well and whole. Click here to claim your copy.