No one is ever ready when I would like them to be. Around here, when I say, “get your shoes on, it’s time to go” I’m often met with grumbling, or a frantic race through the house for that something to bring along in the car. It doesn’t seem to matter that I gave a five minute warning, or that I’m already standing at the door with purse and keys in hand–nobody’s ready, and so until they are prepared for action, we’re not going anywhere.
The other day as I read 1 Peter 1, I noticed this little line, that though I’ve read it before, didn’t leap out at me until that day–
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self‑controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13 NIV84
Prepare your minds for action–I wondered about what that sort of preparedness looks like. I’m whipping through a busy season these days between homeschooling, coordinating MOPS, writing and trying to get back to running again, there’s a lot of physical action happening, but my mind?–honestly, things are a mess up there. I know when I put the peanut butter in the refrigerator and the milk in the pantry, my mind is a slush-box. I need to breathe. I need to find space. I need to prepare my mind.
A distracted, overwhelmed mind is not prepared for action.
So how do we do this? After all, we live in a world that never stops turning. If you get online in the middle of the night, people are still up, shopping, facebooking, tweeting, how do we clear out the clutter so we can be prepared?
For me, this looks a little like this; I start my day with the Hello Mornings challenge, where I spend time in the word and in fellowship with others who are also rising before the sun to get a seat at Jesus’ side. This helps more than words can say.
If I did nothing else, to help ready my mind, this one thing would be enough, if I used my time wisely in the morning.
I’ve also been trying to be still before the Lord, to sit down, with my eyes closed, without reading, or writing, or even praying, but to literally just be still before Him. I invite Him to come be with me during this time, and then I wait–hopefully without falling asleep! This is a new challenge I am working through, but it is rewarding when I actually do it.
I am not doing that well at either of these practices right now, because I am so busy I am easily distracted by my teetering to-do list, but I’m trying.
The other part of that verse that spoke to me was this, ”be self-controlled”. While I’d love to say that I am the model for self-control, I know that would be a bold lie. While I have pretty good discipline with certain areas of my life, I still lack self-control over other areas, and they continue to be stumbling blocks for me. One is my temper. I have a short fuse. I wish to the moon and back it weren’t so, but I do. I am working on it, God has been working on me on it. But some days I just struggle to keep my composure and when I look at the triggers, often times, my lack of self control, is directly connected to not having a mind that is read for action.
When my brain is overloaded with tasks and things that need to be remembered–when I’m feeling overwhelmed, my patience becomes even less.
If we lived as Peter says here, with minds ready for action, controlling ourselves might not seem so difficult. Perhaps living with our minds quieter, and more focused on what is happening in this moment, we would be able to fully engage ourselves in a way that better reflects the joy and hope we have in Christ.
What do you think? How do you keep your mind prepared for action? Is your struggle for self-control ever linked to your mind being unprepared?