Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For Obsessive Preppers Like Me

At a women’s Christmas event over the weekend, I had the distinct privilege of introducing someone who has quickly become a very close friend. Anyone who knows me well understands that I labor in preparing every word that I speak in a public setting. I pray, think, rehearse, rework, restate, and agonize any time I’ll address a crowd. (It’s clearly a Martha vs Mary mentality.) As I thought through what to say, I considered both the audience and the friend I’d introduce. Most of the audience had not yet met her and I wanted them to love her as I do. Which of her characteristics should I share? What points from her past would provide connection? How should I describe her impact on my personal walk with Christ? 

In the afterglow of the event, I began to reflect on how my words were stated and wondered if I said all I’d wanted to. You see, no matter how much I rehearse and try to memorize, my words come out differently than I plan nearly every single time I face an audience. Knowing that about myself makes me wonder why I agonize as I do. It’s somewhat of an obsession that I’ve developed from knowing the trouble that my mouth can cause. I’ve learned that I can’t prepare too much, even when I’ll provide a simple 60-second introduction for someone I adore.  

This morning’s contemplation, however, brought a new twist and I wondered… 

Do I put as much time, energy and effort preparing to introduce Christ to those I know and love? 

I adore the Lord and wish for everyone I know to love Him as I do. Therefore, which of His characteristics should I share? Which points from my past with Him would help to provide the most connection? How should I describe my Savior and speak of my personal walk with Him? Do I give proper attention to the manner in which I’ll introduce Him? Do I pray for opportunity and preparedness? 

The spirit brought conviction to my heart because if I’m honest, no, I don’t give intentional witness the focus it deserves. The Christmas season is a wonderful time to share Christ and people seem more open than normal to hear about Him. I have a new resolve to pray that I don’t squander the opportunities that God provides and that I don’t hesitate to share about the Lord. 

The Bible teaches that we are not to worry about what we are to say, particularly as it relates to our witness, because in that very hour, the Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak (Mark 13:9-11).  I can’t possibly rehearse every potential scenario and I must trust that the Lord will instruct me on what to say. But I can prepare in other ways. I can pray and ask the Lord for greater willingness to share. I can ask that He show me when, where, and with whom to speak, and I can pray that He prepare hearts for what He’ll speak through me. As I take these steps to prepare, I’m sure to find myself more willing to walk in obedience and better able to see the opportunities that He presents.

I take it to the Lord in prayer:  "Father, I pray that Your children will feel a sense of urgency to share Your Truth with a lost world. Make us ready, and prepare the hearts of those who share and those who hear. We ask for your strength and power to go before us and pave the way. We trust that we walk in Your path to accomplish what You purpose in each life. Thank you for Your faithfulness!"

Your turn:

Over which events or situations (holiday or otherwise) do you “obsessively” prepare?

How does this compare with the way you prepare to share Christ with others?

What changes would you like to make in either area?

Be strengthened today, by the Word,

Psalm 119:28

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