Preparation Pays Off
Every year my family goes skiing over Christmas. Reluctantly, I brave the slopes and fly down the mountainside with one goal in mind: stay alive. As much as I enjoy our annual ski trip, I don’t relish the actual “skiing” part of the vacation. I’ll take the hot chocolate and fireside chats over those long, skinny tickets to the emergency room they call skis. I credit weak muscle tone and irrational fear for my underwhelming aptitude for winter sports. My legs give out quickly, burning until I can hardly stand. The higher altitude robs me of oxygen and I struggle to find my breath. I am usually unprepared, uncertain, and unconfident in my performance. The last 15 years have ended much the same. Ski, cry, and repeat. But this year was different.
After several disappointing years, I made a decision that changed everything. I resolved to prepare my mind and body for action, rather than dreading the next near-death experience. I established a routine at the gym in an effort to improve my endurance and built leg muscles that could sustain me with enough strength to at least keep up with my seven-year-old. Every time I was short of breath, I reminded myself that my lungs were preparing me for higher elevations. When the quad muscles in my legs burned with exhaustion, I told myself I was one step closer to having the endurance it would take to conquer the slopes. The hard work paid off. I skied three full days, albeit on the slowest runs, and didn’t cry once this time. Don’t laugh. That was a real goal.
In the past I’ve been too panicked to really enjoy the beauty of the scenery. This year was different because I was prepared for the challenge. I actually enjoyed the showdown with the snow-packed terrain. It was beautiful from the top of the mountain! Perhaps the view was just as majestic in other years; I just wasn’t strong enough to look up and appreciate it.
I had spent months preparing my body for action, and when put to the test, I was ready. Without the commitment to hard work and perseverance, I would’ve been left sulking in the ski lodge while my family enjoyed the snow. Instead, I was able to push myself all three days and I lived to tell about it!
Our spiritual lives are no exception. Just as I prepared my body for action, I was reminded of the call to prepare my mind for action in 1 Peter 1:13—action against a spiritual enemy who desires to send us toppling down a mountain in an avalanche of lies. I’ve experienced the strength that comes from preparing my mind for action. Parenting is more purposeful when I’ve prepared my perspective with God’s Word. The job is more manageable when I’ve prepared my schedule in light of His desires for me. Relationships are more meaningful when I’ve prepared my heart to love as He does.
Preparation pays off. When life’s challenges send you flying down at record speeds, preparation enables you to lift your eyes and behold the beauty of the One who rescues us.