When you find out you are pregnant for the first time, it’s exciting, but it’s also a little scary. The idea of giving birth to a human can be a bit intimidating for any woman. Luckily, there are Lamaze and birthing classes available to help prepare you for the big event. I remember CJ and I going through those classes when I was pregnant with Corban. Something they taught us there has always stuck with me—the creation of a birth plan.
Our instructor had us come up with our ideal birth plan. Meaning, in a perfect world where everything would go as planned, what would we want the big day to look like? Would we want a natural birth, or would we welcome an epidural? A home birth or at the hospital? Extended family present or just mom and husband? We went through all the possibilities until we came up with our dream plan.
And then our instructor told us to cross one item off the list. We still have most of our plan, but now there’s a slight tweak to it. No worries, we’ll still carry on. Until she told us to cross off another item. Then another. She continued having us choose something on our plan that we could live without if we absolutely had to. She kept it up until there was only one item left on the list. In the end, all of us expectant parents had just one thing left on our birth plan goals—deliver a healthy child.
When it came down to it, that was really the only thing that mattered, the only thing that was really important. If nothing else went our way, that would be okay because we would still have our new baby in our arms.
I feel like our lives should reflect the same basic principal of that birth plan.
When we are getting ready to venture out into the world on our own, it’s exciting, but it’s also a little scary. Life offers so many possibilities and, as Christians, we want to choose the best ways to honor God with our lives and talents. We make grand plans as we go, plans like traveling the world as a missionary, using our signing voice to inspire others to worship, being a public figure and influencing the hearts and minds of others, preaching and ministering to a congregation or youth group. Maybe our plans are on a smaller scale, such as leading a neighborhood bible study, publishing a discourse on Romans, or starting the first prayer group on the secular college campus. After all, we are called to go out into the world and make disciples, right? We take the skills tests and are highly encouraged to find a way to use our talents to honor God.
But what happens when we can’t get the support together to become a missionary in a foreign country? What happens when our signing voice isn’t enough to land a recording contract, or we lose the election, or drop out of seminary school? What happens when we move into a house with no close neighbors, or work keeps us too busy to write that discourse, much less outline it? What happens when all our plans seem to take a back burner to work, running kids everywhere, obligations, health issues, or feeding/dressing/cleaning tiny humans?
Have we failed?
I feel like it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we need to live larger than life in order to honor God, to let Him know how grateful we are for the gift of grace, to let others know that we are “real” Christians.
Remember that birth plan? What if the goal of our life plan isn’t having everything on the list checked off? What if all the plans we make can ultimately be put aside as long as we reach our #1 goal? God says the greatest commands are to love Him and love your neighbor. Everything else is just background noise. What that means is it doesn’t matter if you’re leading the weekly prayer breakfast, it doesn’t matter if you’re changing government policy, it doesn’t matter if you can’t get out to feed the homeless in the city. It doesn’t matter if you live a “small” life in your little neighborhood. All that matters is that you love Him and love His children. That’s the desired outcome, your single purpose. If you do nothing more than that in life, you have accomplished the most important thing.