Unexpected, but not Unprepared
I woke up this morning to high winds, rain, and thunder…in the middle of January in Indiana! Now that is unexpected.
I have a friend who up until just recently was the main trainer for an entire State Police force, who visited us just recently. We had a couple of different long conversations and one such conversations veered into being prepared for things you can’t prepare for. We talked at length about things that had come into our lives that were unexpected and completely unplanned for, and how we handled them.
Near the end of our conversation he said, “What I teach State Troopers each week is eerily similar to what we’ve been talking about.” He went on to explain the levels of preparedness he teaches all his recruits, I’m using my own terms but it’s the same idea:
Oblivious: you go through life with absolutely no clue that something might not go as planned. So, when something hits you, you freak out, you have no plan, you have no backup, you are, well to put it bluntly, screwed!
Aware: you are walking through life with a plan, but you don’t expect anything to happen. You have an idea of what you would do if something does happen, but you haven’t fully thought it out. So, when something hits you, you don’t totally loose your cool but it takes you a while to recover.
Alert: you are walking through life with a plan, and a back-up plan, and you know how you’ll react if something does happen. So, when it does you’re not shocked, you can quickly correct course, and continue to move forward.
Alarmed: you walk through life with a plan believing that the very next step you take will bring about the destruction of everything around you, you have 7 different plans of reaction. So, when it does happen, you have the potential of over-reacting and making a bigger deal out of it then necessary, and thereby cause bigger problems.
As I listened to my friend talk, I realized how often I had talked with people who were living in oblivious-ville. They were stunned and their lives were almost destroyed, simply because they were walking through life without any expectation of the unexpected. I also thought about the amount of times, especially early in ministry, that I assumed I was walking on alert status, when I was only really aware, and how long it took me to make the necessary corrections because I hadn’t clearly thought through my backup plan.
I have made it my goal to walk through life living comfortably on Alert status, not red alert borderline paranoia, just alert. I want to be ready when that thing comes around the corner in my life, I’m determined to expect the unexpected.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8