As we piled into the car on a night guaranteed to have congested traffic, my sister said, “It’s going to be crazy out there so prepare yourself mentally.” It’s stuck ever since because I’ve never even considered mental preparation when it came to traffic. My mantra was to just get through it, but preparing for it mentally made for a calmer drive.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
– Benjamin Franklin misquote (he didn’t actually say this but still a good thought to ponder)
There are many ways we prepare. One of my favorite ways is back to school shopping, even when I’m not in school! I mentally prepare for mentally laden tasks: speeches, presentations, tests, interviews, etc., but hardly ever for physically laden things like driving in traffic.
This reminds me of David facing Goliath. He was this shepherd boy who was only dropping off food for his brothers in the army, but he was the one who stepped up and ultimately defeated Goliath. What amount of preparation did he have except for battling animals threatening his flock of sheep?
Well I went back and read more of the story. Samuel anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Then God allowed Saul to be tormented by an evil spirit, and his servants’ suggestion was to find someone to play the lyre so Saul can have some peace. One of the servants suggested David and described him as a brave man and a warrior.
David entered Saul’s service. He played the lyre whenever the evil spirit tormented Saul. Saul liked David so much, he recruited him to stay and David became one of his armor-bearers (1 Samuel 16:14-23). From that moment, David went back and forth between serving Saul and tending sheep (1 Samuel 17:14-15).
David wasn’t just a random shepherd boy. He found favor with the King (God who chose him) and the king (Saul who liked him). He was an armor-bearer (he carried Saul’s armor) and so had been around the army. He had fought animals bigger than him, and had faced criticism and ridicule from men bigger than him (1 Samuel 17:28, his eldest brother had some harsh words for him).
I imagine that David did some mental preparation as he left the sheep for the army’s camp. I think he did every time he went back and forth between his job at home and his job with Saul. He probably changed his clothes and traded a shepherd’s staff for a lyre. He also changed his attitude from protector and defender of the weak to being the “weaker” servant of the king. He had to switch his mentality from being in charge out on the field to following orders.
What mental preparations did David have as he approached the camp? I imagine he was not without fear or trepidation as he realized that there was something wrong, that perhaps they were losing the war. He ran around camp trying to figure out what was going on.
The difference between David and the rest of the soldiers was that David chose to stand on faith. There were these smaller incidents in David’s life that prepared him to face the giant Goliath, and he realized that. He knew they added up to prepare him for that moment.
David knew he could face oppositions bigger than him. David also knew God looked at the heart (because God looked at his heart and chose to anoint him as the next king). David didn’t need Saul’s ill-fitting armor because God was with him and that was enough.
When facing my own Goliaths, I’m much slower at realizing that God had been preparing me with every challenge I’ve faced leading up to that moment. I’m much more eager to run back to the things I’ve already proven myself in. At least I know how to do those things. I know the ropes. I have a system. I’m in my zone.
Yet the things that put us in our zone are the things that prepare us for something more. The things we’ve mastered will be what helps us conquer something new. We are more prepared than we think. We are more ready than we care to admit. We only have to stand on faith.You are more than ready. Only stand on faith. Click To Tweet