Prepare Yourself!

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

Ezra 7:10

I am convinced that my early scholastic career would have been much different if I would have prepared for the quizzes, tests, and homework that came my way. I have learned that in a lot of cases, it is not how smart you are, but how prepared you are for the task at hand. I would carelessly leave my books at school, forget to study, and put more effort into my beloved Phoenix Suns than I did my school work. I was more interested in everything else but my school work, even though my lack of effort warmed my bottom more times than I would like to remember. In high school, I did my best to not bring home books, and I did just enough to remain academically eligible. I did not come prepared to do my best and in many cases, I was not prepared at all. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

I have failed to prepare many times in my life until I finally got sick of being unprepared. I decided to go back to school in the fall of 2003, mostly because my son was newly born and I knew I needed to do more for my family. I was tired of checking the “some college” box without ever finishing. I knew I would be stuck at certain jobs if I did not make a move to improve myself in some way. I did not do great when I first went to college, but I was willing to give it a second go. I was nervous and scared to go back as I did not know if I could make it at the next level. I was challenged academically as school ate my lunch because I was not fully prepared. I was willing to give it my all and made a go of it this time, and I was willing to put the work in to make it work. If I was going to fail, it wasn’t going to be because of my lack of preparation.

I enrolled back in school with academic probation hanging over my head, but I was determined to do my best. I sat in my classes like a sponge and took notes and read my text books, hoping to remember everything that I was being taught. My job at that time was not incredibly challenging, so it afforded me time to study. My job would reimburse me for the money that I paid for school if I got passing grades, which further incentivized me to pass. I gave my best effort with the time I had while I juggled working full time and handling a baby son who never slept. I did not want to fail, and I found an amazing thing that if you study, then you can do quite well in school. I was excited after every test and assignment as my grades were A and B’s for the first time in a long time. I ended that first semester with a 3.50 GPA, which surprised me.

I ended up graduating in two years from when I restarted college, and I never thought I would cross the stage to receive my bachelor’s degree. I looked back at my earlier school career and thought of all the time I wasted and spankings I could have avoided if I only would have been prepared. Although I am speaking of my scholastic career, I also think of all the heartache I could have avoided if I would have prepared my heart spiritually. If I would have only applied myself in my Bible reading and prayer life. If I had prepared my heart for the sermon instead of being enamored with the Suns or Cowboys score. Oh, how different things may have been if my heart would have been applied to the things of God such as Ezra did when he set his heart to seek the law of the Lord. He prepared himself for what God would have for him to experience and what He had for him to do. God used Ezra in mighty ways, not because he was smart, but because he had prepared his heart.

Are you preparing yourself daily by seeking the Lord? Do you have talents that God gave you, but find yourself unprepared in many ways when He calls you to do something? Do you prepare your heart daily or do you forget to read your Bible and pray only when seated at the dinner table? We must be prepare our hearts to learn the law of the Lord and be prepared to do it. May we seek His face, align our hearts with His, and be prepared to do all that He has commanded us to do.

Stay in the Fight!

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