So often our understanding of preparation means that we are planning and trying to control the outcome of our efforts for some purpose we have determined. I’ve learned, as we all eventually do, that this is not how God is at work in our lives. This is not how God wants us to prepare for life: thinking that if I do A it will lead to B and I’ll make all the right steps to get where I want.
So what might preparation look like? Preparation can be a cleaning out, an emptying, or a reordering of space in our lives to allow more room for what God is already doing. God wants us to prepare for the unexpected – not by building a store room of supplies – but by getting our hearts and minds in the right place so that when our lives take those twists and turns, we are prepared to see God in the midst of them.
The best, richest, and most fulfilling fruits in my life come not from what I thought I was preparing for – but from the surprising and miraculous things that I couldn’t have dreamed of or prepared for. In this season of Advent, I hope to be more like Mary, who when the angel told her that she was to bear the son of God (who could prepare for that?!), simply said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”