Be prepared for whatever comes next

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"What's next?" That was the question my children asked leaving an amusement park after being tossed upside-down, rolled, splashed and dunked. A whole day of fun, and the question was "what's next?"

With Labor Day past, I find myself asking that same question. Summer was exciting and exhausting, but I want to know what's next, too.

At different seasons in our lives we each ask that same question. The school bus drives off leaving your home eerily quiet: "What's next?" Your last child finally moved out: "What's next?" A lifelong career was brought to a close with a sheet cake reading "Happy retirement": "What's next?"

The honest answer is that no one knows what's next. There is not one person on the face of the planet who can with 100 percent accuracy predict what's next. We all have dreams and ideas of what could be next. But we don't know. We can prepare for what's next, though.

Effectively meeting the unknown of what's next requires preparing today to meet the yet-to-be-discovered opportunities of tomorrow. Preparing today when you don't know what to prepare for is a matter of determining who you will be no matter where it is or what you are doing. You can move into the unknown because of who you are in grace.

Navigating what's next must also be intentional. In the New Testament letter of 1 Peter we read "... get rid of all evil behavior." Most of us would look at that verse and think, "I'm OK, I don't have any evil behavior. Sure, an occasional traffic ticket and maybe some gossip at my work or church, but evil? Nope, I'm good." Peter's focus, though, is not on the type of behavior but on the action that precedes it. He is challenging anyone who will dare read this letter to get rid of some things in his life.

To move into what's next we all need to conduct some intentional self-evaluation and get rid of some things in our lives that are keeping us from living today and thriving in the unknown tomorrow. Navigating what's next is a matter of becoming who it is God is making you to be and trusting him to be with you in the unknown tomorrow.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer.

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