I‘ve been thinking how well-intentioned people, in reference to having a particular outlook toward an event, or experience, or even life in general, say “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.” Expect the best. Okay. But prepare for the worst. Um. Okay.
I’ve decided I hate that line. It sounds good, it sounds conciliatory and maybe even soothing. But it’s so neutral, it’s so…antiseptic. It’s so weak, honestly. At least in my opinion. And maybe it’s just me.
I do want to expect the best. I feel like I’m wired to do so. I feel like that’s how I’m called to live (Romans 8:28, Hebrews 13:6, Psalm 27:13).
And I understand about preparing for the worst, in principle. I get it. You don’t want to be ill-prepared for something to go wrong. For example, on a road trip you hope that you don’t run over a nail, but you still have a spare tire in your trunk or attached to your vehicle just in case. You wouldn’t leave that spare tire in your garage – you’d take it with you so that you had it if you needed it, so you could continue your road trip. So maybe this statement can be used for tangible, material examples like that, but I personally cannot use or embrace it for everything else. What I want, like, in the big picture. Things I dream about. Goals I want to accomplish. Differences I want to make. You know, the stuff that actually matters. The stuff with significance.
I just feel that when I am believing for something huge, when I am hoping for and needing God to come through – I need to do it full-bore.
I just feel that when I am believing for something huge, when I am hoping for and needing God to come through – I need to do it full-bore. Honestly, some things in life are so hard to believe for – whether it is your parents not screaming at each other every night and their marriage improving drastically, or your brother getting on the right path instead of destroying his life with bad decisions, or your grandma being healed of a terminal disease. Or anything else in any area of your life that you specifically have yearned for and been patient for. But it just hasn’t happened yet.
But let’s say you do believe. In your heart of hearts. You believe even when you don’t see anything pointing to it happening. You believe even if what you do see points in the opposite direction. You just have full, pure, simple, childlike faith. Well, with that, can you really “prepare for the worst” at the same time? Again, in your heart? I feel like when it comes to what is written on our heart, the things that matter to us most deeply, you can’t be in-between. We are meant to believe unconditionally, even though it sets us up for immense pain. God loved us unconditionally and even recklessly, even though it set Him up for immense pain. But we ascribe nobility and honor to love like that. Because it is worth it, because He didn’t count the cost. And maybe for these major things we are believing for, we shouldn’t either.
“Preparing for the worst” to me means building a safety net, just in case the bottom falls out. But I feel with the major things in life, you can’t have a safety net, because it undermines the trueness and fullness of belief.
“Preparing for the worst” to me means building a safety net, just in case the bottom falls out. But I feel with the major things in life, you can’t have a safety net, because it undermines the trueness and fullness of belief. It strips the potency from it. And it adds a condition to what should be unconditional. We are not fully dependent on God coming through. We’ve decided to play it safe and allow for a Plan B just in case.
I don’t really seeing Plan Bs working out all over the place for people either. I mean, can you really *love* your wife if your Plan B leads you to hold a little back in terms of affection just in case she ignores or dismisses or doesn’t appreciate your particular display of love at that particular moment? Doesn’t that cheapen it for her? Honestly, doesn’t it make you a little cowardly? Can you really build a disruptive business from the ground up, if your Plan B keeps you from going “all in” and investing the blood, sweat, and tears to make it succeed? Can you really make a lasting positive impact in the lives of other people around this world by giving most of yourself, but not all of yourself?
Those who have changed the world gave their all, believed for the best, and did not prepare for the worst just to be on the safe side. Jesus. Martin Luther King, Jr. Abraham Lincoln. Mother Teresa. Joan of Arc. Marie Curie. They knew there were no guarantees, but they were bold to live fully from their heart. I respect that and admire that so much. Honestly, it commands respect and admiration. And it inspires me and others to do the same. Our security cannot be in our Plan B, or ourselves. It has to be in Him, at least for it to end up being epic. And I want epic. I just do.
We know why we prepare for the worst. It’s because we are tired of crashing to the ground. It’s because we can’t allow ourselves to get hurt badly again. Or at all.
We know why we prepare for the worst. It’s because we are tired of crashing to the ground. It’s because we can’t allow ourselves to get hurt badly again. Or at all. It’s because we cannot relinquish full control to Him and need to hold onto just a little, tiny piece. It’s because it is so awfully difficult to place our *entire* lives and future into His hands. I could say that I’ve done it, but I know I haven’t. Not fully, and not permanently. I keep taking parts of it back, out of His hands. And, of course, muck things up. It’s what we do best, sometimes, right? 🙂
For the big picture things on my heart, I don’t want to believe for the best *and* prepare for the worst. I just want to believe for the best. Not both. Because it doesn’t feel right. In fact, it feels cheap, it feels compromising and ambivalent and passionless and without conviction. I can’t live like that. And I don’t think we are meant to.
Please understand I am not advocating a lack of wisdom. I’m just trying to live – and encourage others as they are so led – to believe more fully, compromise less, and leave the rest up to the God who knows us, wants the absolute best for us, and loves us more than we will ever, ever be able to understand.