Don’t we just love to hear those special words, the ones that make life suddenly sweeter and more joyful? The three simple words that can change the trajectory of our lives and bring about the things we have longed for: “I am ready.”
I admit, they may not be as good as “I love you” but just think about how happy Husband feels when it’s 15 minutes till kick-off and he’s waiting for Wife to finish putting on her make-up so they can get out the door. Suddenly, she appears and says, “I am ready!”
Or the relief the gal feels who has pushed and prodded the guy to make that life-long commitment that he has been avoiding, and one day, he finally says, “Yes! I am ready!”
I remember vividly the satisfaction I felt when a certain very handsome and spiritual guy, once who didn’t want to plant a church in Austin at 50 years old, but his beautiful and persuasive wife begged and pleaded, and he eventually came to his senses and said, “OK! I give up! I am ready!”
The Joseph story in the Bible is one of my all time favorites. He had an impossible dream, yet, stayed true to it in the midst of horrifying circumstances. He was abused and lied on, falsely imprisoned and sold into slavery. He was rejected by his family, and even by those he had helped the most, but he kept his character through it all.
At the beginning of Joseph’s story, we find him hanging out with Dad in the tents with his custom made coat on, while his brothers were out in the fields doing all the work. Dad says, “Hey Jo! Your brothers are out doing all the work so get ready and go check on them. You are really good about telling me what they are doing wrong when I’m not there.”
Now Joseph didn’t say, “Well Dad, let me take care of this or let me do that first, and then I can.” He wasn’t all, “Well, let me check my planner and see if it fits into my schedule.” Or “Can I pray and fast for a week to see if it is God’s will?”
No, when the time came, he simply said, “I am ready.” (Gen. 37:13 NLT)
Those simple words were a revelation to me and I saw that it became a character trait of Joseph’s throughout his life. In every situation, he didn’t have to think about how he was going to respond or what choices he was going to make. He didn’t have to get ready, he stayed ready! He was always ready to make the right choice whatever the situation called for. In everything that Joseph did, no matter how he was maligned, lied on and pushed down, he still rose to the top in every situation! Let’s look at a few ways he was able to stay on course even when his life was stormy.
Joseph stayed intentional. He had a dream and he realized that everything he went through was in God’s hands and taking him toward that dream. Intentionality changes the way we look at everything in our lives. We can learn to do the same thing, but to change our mind-sets and attitudes about doing it. We can gripe about doing dishes, or we can thank God for a family and food and water! We can intentionally choose positivity in everything we do.
Another thing Joseph did well is he kept a correct perspective. ”We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” is a quote attributed to many, but Joseph could’ve been the originator. He was able to stay true to his integrity, even when it seemed like there was nothing left to hope for, because he saw his trouble as an integral part of his journey and not an impediment to it. Jumping ahead to the end of the story, Joseph tells his brothers, “You sold me but God sent me.” Like Joseph, when we have the right perspective about our situations, it can literally change our lives!
Which leads us to the next thing Joseph did right, he stayed grateful. I have a chronic illness and I have prayed for things to be different but for whatever reason, they aren’t. Recently, God said, ”Be thankful for PMDD. Praise me for your sufferings.” This mind shift has already made such a difference in my life! Is it still there? Yeah…for now. But with gratitude, my perspective has shifted from looking at myself and what uncomfortable and painful thing is happening to me, to looking at God and seeing how He is about to turn this thing around and use it for my good and His glory!
All of Joseph’s story is AH-MAY-ZING but one of my favorite parts is when he is in prison. He has risen up into leadership by having the right perspective and being grateful and intentional. He’s just doing what he does, living a life of integrity even when he has been forgotten…again. Out of nowhere, he gets called in to see Pharoah. P.H.A.R.O.A.H. The KING OF THE WORLD. All of a sudden, he is going from the bottom to the top. And all he has to do to be ready for this momentous occasion is take a shower and shave. No hail Mary’s to God, “Oh Lord, I know I haven’t talked much to you lately but I’m here now! I know I slipped up last night but I promise I’ll do better from now on. Please make this dream come to pass!”
No. He was ready. He made an exponential leap forward in his life and saw his dreams come to pass. I can just hear him saying, in his head and in his heart, “ALL THIS TIME. It is finally happening. What I dreamed of all those years ago is becoming reality today! I wasn’t crazy…It WAS worth it! When everyone else gave up and gave in, I stayed on the path to my destiny and did not divert!”
Wouldn’t it be tragic if we spent our lives frustrated because we felt like God never activated our dreams? We give up on God ever doing what He said He was gonna do. Dave Ramsey said, “It is worth the trouble to become the person God made you to be!”
But what if it’s a case of user error? Like when we were mad that the dryer wasn’t doing what it was made to do-drying!-but it just needed the lint cleaned out of the duct that was all scrunched up behind it, and then it worked perfectly. What if we aren’t waiting on Him, but He is waiting on us? Pastor Chad Veach recently posted, “Your alignment determines your assignment.” Are we aligned? Are we ready?
I want to follow Jo’s path and stay true to my God-dreams! We must live intentionally with gratitude and the right perspective so that when those times come for us to take huge faith steps, we don’t have to be afraid, but can say with confidence, “I am ready!”
Stephanie pastors Oasis Church (@oasistx.org) in the Austin, Texas metro alongside her husband, Jonathan and her son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Hannah. Her current passion is building a community center (@theoasiscommunity) on their church campus to serve the physical needs of their community.
*this article was originally published in Destiny Magazine 2021 Summer Edition