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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Preparation: Oooo Look at Those Tiny Little Burgers


There is a high-end burger movement that has taken over NYC. Being the wanna-be foodie (and burger bash judge) that I am, Taryn and I have made it a priority to eat a wide variety of America's favorite sandwich. There are many factors that make these burgers unique and worth their $10+ price tags. The butcher is important. The age of the meat. The fat content. What cut of meat is involved in the mix. The seasoning (or lack their of). Aaaaand the preparation of the meat.

Whether you are sitting down at Little Owl or ordering from the counter at City Burger, you will always be asked, "How would you like your burger prepared?" Preparation is key for the texture and, of course, the flavor.

I don't really have a cute transition. I just wanted to talk about burgers and point out that preparation is important. Does that work as a transition? I continue...

We often over estimate our personal preparedness. Additionally, we often think that we know what it is we need to prepare for and how we should participate in preparation.

There is no better example of this in my own life than my short attempt at a career path. I graduated high school and all I knew was that I wanted to be a stock broker. So after some unforeseen circumstances I ended up at ASU as a Business/Finance major. After somehow squeaking out a B in Economics and Finance I decided to move on to management. Because it wasn't that I actually wanted to be in finance, I just wanted to be everyone's boss. For that, I thought the management degree would prepare me. While going to ASU to learn how to be everyone's boss, I was working at a church. After falling in love with my work, I decided that I needed to prepare to be a pastor. So I went to Mars Hill Graduate School for my MDiv (or what I thought I needed to prepare for a vocational position in the church). After a few conversations with some friends we decided we would someday start a church in San Francisco. After this conversation I decided that I no longer needed to prepare to be a pastor through the MDiv, but through the shorter MA degree. And now all of those plans are up in the air. Who knew that all of this was actually just preparing me to be an Office Manager at a New York City doctor's office?

I am not suggesting that my previous experiences have not prepared me for whatever may be ahead for Taryn and I. However, the preparation I believed I needed was not the preparation that has been most helpful.

True preparation does not come in the ways we imagine it. Preparation is often difficult. Its the tireless process of making friends. Its the hard work of therapy. Its working through conflict with a spouse. Its creating new coping mechanisms and feeling the absence of security provided by the previous bad habits. It's unintended risks. It's often chaos and rarely planned or forecasted. We don't choose these things. Nor do we always know what they are preparing us for. Sometimes we fight these preparatory forces. Other times we submit to them. Only then, when we submit, are we transformed and prepared for what needs preparation.

Preparation takes humility. Thus, self-righteousness is the enemy of preparation.

And here lies the tension. We want to be intentional about preparation. We want to prepare for marriage, for a career, and ultimately for all of our future. But when our desire for preparedness turns into self-righteousness, when we think we know the who, what, and where of our destiny, we lack the humility to allow God to prepare us for his future.

So how do you want YOUR burger? (did you like that tie-in? Smoooooth, right?)

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Jarrod said...


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