Yesterday Scott asked what “readiness” means to us, and I wonder how you responded. I spend a lot of time thinking that I am ready when in fact, I am not. I’ll have a dilemma and think about it obsessively (but unproductively) until my brain hurts. Then I’ll go talk about my thoughts to several people who are cursed with the role of being long-suffering listeners to my various issues. I’ll strategize and develop plans. But no action will be taken until I am entirely ready. And many times my action is hindered by my lack of readiness.
One way that I am maturing into a pattern of “readiness” is by taking seriously my defects of character. For most of my life, I’ve been an extremely defensive person, and guarded as it relates to my failings. What has changed?
Well, I’m older, and that leads to lots of patterns that even blind squirrels can recognize – so there’s that! But I am also at a stage of life where I feel extremely well-loved. I work with a team of people who have my back, and know my failings and don’t judge me. I have friends who have promised to not leave me nor forsake me, and I believe them. And I have a family that has been able to articulate my shortcomings (sometimes with direct imitations which are awesomely accurate) while still managing to convince me that they love me warts and all. This is an extremely secure setting, one that I believe is wasted if I am constantly defensive.
Years ago, Neil Anderson was rather famous for saying, “If you have done no wrong, you need no defense, and if you have done wrong, you have no effective defense.” (Bad paraphrase but I hope you see his point.)
I’d like to add onto that thought with one of my own: readiness is often the by-product of receiving the gift of unconditional love in a slow, steady drip, over a long period of time, under various conditions and seasons – many of them harsh and unfavorable.
Readiness is what we can do when we have some sense of trust in God and his people. That’s what ready means to me. And it’s a relief. It really is such a great relief to be able to simply be ourselves in this world.
So here’s my thought for you today: what can each of us do to create a safer place for the people we love to practice readiness?