4 Tips to Motivate Preparation
If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that success doesn’t just happen. I mean opportunity can show up but if you’re not prepared for it … welp. There it goes.
For so many years I sat around with big dreams in my heart but I never prepared. When I was motivated I would write and that wasn’t very often. I would start to feel sorry for myself because nothing was happening. Then I’d head out to social media world where everything was happening for everyone except me! The discouragement led to more moping around and accomplishing nothing.
You ever just get to that point where you’ve had enough?! Sometimes it’s like you have to get to that point in order to make a change. It was through the constant frustration that I realized that God has planted so many seeds in my heart but they were just idly sitting there.
I’ve often struggled as a follower of Jesus because I didn’t want to make a wrong move. If I stepped out to prepare for a dream, was I stepping outside of God’s will? If I tried to make it happen did that mean that I was thinking of myself more powerful than God? Do you sit and wait or do you get up and move? So many teachings on ‘be still’ and yet so many teachings on ‘do’. UGH! So I just sat and did nothing.
Until one day I was reading in Exodus. Amazing how God can clear the confusion through His word. Exodus 14:10-18 is incredible! Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt but now Pharaoh and the Egyptians are coming after God’s people and there is ‘nowhere’ to go.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
This is the amazing story of how God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites crossed on dry land and the Egyptians were crushed as the water came crashing back down. I love this (true) story in The Bible.
So today I wanted to share 4 Highlights from Exodus 14 that will help you get unstuck and back into preparation mode:
The Uncomfortable ‘Comfort’
The Israelites became afraid when they saw the Egyptians coming after them and started to complain because they would have rather died in the ‘comfort’ of Egypt where they were SLAVES than to die in the unknown escape.
Aren’t we like that? We’d rather stay in bondage to the known circumstances and people around us that are hurting us because it’s predictable rather than make our escape to something that’s completely foreign to us.
Preparation means leaving the uncomfortable comfort. It means believing there is more for your life, envisioning the promise land, making a road map, and moving in the direction of your dreams. Preparation means surrendering each day to God and having your eyes open for when He changes the course. In our home our prayer is like this: “Lord, we’re going this way. If that’s wrong please stop us. Our eyes will be open for the detours you may have along the journey.” (Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.).
Stand Firm and Be Still
I believe when scripture tells us to stand firm and be still these are references to our hearts and minds. Stand firm – resolve. Resolve is a verb that means decide firmly on a course of action. To make up ones mind.
Be still is to quiet your heart and mind. To surrender the outcome. To not be anxious. To lean on God’s word and not be shaken or moved.
As we stand firm we see God’s deliverance around us. When we choose to be still the Lord fights for us. You don’t have to figure it all out. You don’t have to try to make outcomes predictable. You don’t have to get frustrated when people aren’t as excited about your vision as you are. It’s not their vision. God didn’t give it to them so don’t waste your time trying to make people support you or your vision. As our minds and hearts are planted firm and we choose to be still and trust God – He shows up and delivers.
The Lord says to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” This scripture is so powerful. Move on! How often do we get stuck? Oh! I know how easily it is to get bumped off course when fear shows up. As I check in with The Holy Spirit I can hear Him gently say to me, “move on.”
When you have reoccurring thoughts of an offense – move on. When you’re replaying an argument in your mind – move on. When you’re stuck because of an injustice – move on. When you’re fearful and don’t see a way out – move on. When someone criticizes the work you were convinced that God told you to do – move on.
God needed the Israelites to continue in motion. They didn’t see a way out. Their enemies were closing in on them and they were literally freaking out! What happens when we freak out? We shut down! A lot of folks are feeling like the walls are closing in and you’re freaking out and shutting down. The Lord is telling you to move on! Did you come this far to rock back and forth in the corner? No way! Is God not the same God who can still part waters? Is God out of miracles all of a sudden? No way! Move on.
Give God The Glory
I love that God calls his people into action but makes it clear that He will work the miracles and He will receive the glory. God tells moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the waters – but it was God who drove the waters back. Would the waters have parted if Moses didn’t move in faith? I don’t think so. I think as we move in faith, standing firm and with stillness in our hearts and minds – God shows up with the miracles. Our little bit of faith can move mountains. Our little bit of faith can part massive amounts of water.
As you are building your dreams and walking your journey in faith, God will receive The glory. People will see stuff happening in your life that is uncommon. The light of Christ will shine on you and people will notice.
The first conference I spoke at in 2012, a dear friend who is now in heaven, Jeanie, showed up at the conference and loved on me after. She gave me some amazing advice. She said, “April, that was incredible. You were made for this. God is going to use you for mighty works. Allow people to affirm you. Let them tell you how wonderful you were. Just receive it and tell them thank you and place those treasures in your mental basket. Then at the end of each night you take all those compliments and affirmations and pour them at the feet of Jesus. It’s all for His glory.” Best. Advice. Ever. It’s all for His glory!
You, my friend, were made for mighty works. God has placed dreams and visions in your heart that only you can bring to this earth. It’s not about you being better than other people. It’s not about competition or comparison. It’s not about earthly treasures. It’s about God who wants to reveal his glory through you by using your gifts and talents that He’s tucked inside your heart. Living your dreams is not going to just happen to you. Great preparation must take place so that you’re ready when opportunity arrives … and it will arrive.
You are loved dearly!