Go…Ready…Set! – Guest Post by Ali Kennedy

 

Ali Kennedy

Today’s post is a guest feature by one of my dear friends: Ali Kennedy.

Ali and I met when we received jobs at Christian Union Princeton University. Since then, we have been office-mates, room-mates.  Carved pumpkins and built ginger bread mansions. Hosted barbecues and dinner-dates. We have laughed and cried together. Cast vision and expressed frustration together. We spent many times locked in our office praying for each other. We’ve sought each other for wise counsel.

We cheered on as we watched our men graduate together.

Princeton Theological Seminary Graduation

I served as one of her bridesmaids and cheered her on when she later married her man:

Noah & Ali's wedding

 

Ali is a true sister and an extremely talented communicator. Continue reading and you’ll see what I mean:

Go…Ready…Set!

Runner in Starting Blocks

I used to be a track runner. The 400 was my favorite race, but there was one part I feared the most: the start. It required getting into perfect position with the blocks set just right. And then the guy standing on the podium would announce through the giant megaphone the three dreaded words, “ready…set…go!” Just one misstep out of those blocks and it could cost you the race.

Sometimes we think of life’s opportunities in a similar way. We want to be in perfect position and fully prepared before we dive head deep into big life decisions. Whether it’s a new job, a new relationship or a new way of serving God, we want to make sure we’re fully “ready” before we fully commit.

Is it just me?

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with wanting to be fully ready and prepared for something new God might be calling us into. After all, we want to be wise stewards of the gifts, time and talents we have been given. But there are times when God calls us to obey Him before we feel fully ready. Remember Joshua? He was charged with the monumental task of taking over Moses’ job of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. Imagine how ill-equipped he felt! In fact, he was so visibly scared God actually had to encourage him with these words,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Perhaps there is a word in there for us today as young adults facing so many decisions. Big. Major. Monumental ones like: Who should I date? Who should I marry? Where should I work? How should I serve God? How can I make my mark? Where should I live? Should I have kids? Fears of various kinds can keep us from taking courageous steps into the unknown, like:

  • Fear of making the wrong decision.
  • Fear of stepping “outside” of God’s will (as if it is a linear path).
  • Fear of not being ready enough (like Joshua).

What fears are nuzzling into the deep crevasses of your heart right now?

Naming them is a good thing. But then again, if God really is with us wherever we go, as He promises to be, what are we so afraid?

As a woman going through a season of perpetual transition — into a newly married life, living in a new country, beginning a new graduate program, making new friends, considering starting a family, and how to live out my calling in the future — I realize more than ever, we can never be as completely ready or perfectly prepared as we may want to be for the next season God is calling us into. There are just some things in which preparedness only comes aswe humbly and obediently walk it out—with God by our side.

May I suggest that when facing a new job, relationship, or some other kind opportunity God puts before us,

The more we acknowledge our own weakness, the more His strength can come in. The more we embrace our incapability, the more capable He is to do His work through us. The more utterly and totally dependent we become on our Father in Heaven for wisdom, guidance, grace and power each step of the way, the more we experience the truly abundant life Jesus promised (see John 10:10). Not easy maybe, but abundant.

What is the unknown territory God is calling you into? What are the “Moses shoes” God is asking you to fill? Instead of waiting for the “ready…set…” before you go (as any wise runner would),  just decide to go for it, trusting the ready and set part will come along the way. The God we serve isn’t known for calling those who are already equipped, but equipping those He has already called.

So, now is the time to be strong and courageous.

(A version of this article appeared originally in the Brink Magazine). For more Ali, See Below:

 

Ali’s Bio

Ali Kennedy - Head Shot

Presently, Ali resides in Oxford, England as a full-time student with her charming husband, Noah. Her focus in this season of life is her master’s degree work in applied theology at the University of Oxford. In parallel with her  studies, She is pursuing Christian life coaching. Her aim is to establish a life-coaching practice, which she plans to interweave with the ministry Noah serves as a pastor. Additionally, she enjoys writing and engaging in a variety of topics regarding faith and daily living. She has authored one book so far, Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting. She writes on her blog (alikennedylive.com) and serves as a columnist for The Brink Magazine.

Born and raised in Montana, she completed her degree in religious studies at Princeton University and subsequently went to work as a broadcast journalist in the Philippines and then Singapore. Her dream is to combine her background in TV media with her passion for communicating truths of the gospel in fresh and relevant ways.

When she is not studying or writing, she loves to wake up in the early morning hours to go for long runs, sip coffee with Noah, read the Scriptures, journal, hunt for unique treasures in antique shops, connect with friends and family members back home, and share the grace-filled work God has done and continues to do in her life wherever God leads their feet to tread. For now, that is the UK!

  • Leigh Powell Hines

    Very uplifting post by your friend. What a blessing to have such a great friend in your life.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      She’s great!

  • Beautifully written and the questions posed for reflection on my part. What a wonderful person to have in your life!

    • Kimberly Bolden

      Thanks so much Kelly!

  • Great post and I love the inspirational quotes. Very nice.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      She is a gifted communicator. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Theresa Beauteeful Living

    The photos you included really added to this blog entry. Nice guest post 🙂

    • Kimberly Bolden

      Thanks Theresa!

  • Elizabeth Towns

    This is a great post. Seven years of fear have kept me from moving forward in an area of my life and I didn’t realize that was the issue until this year. It’s powerful. Knowing I can hand that fear over and trust God with it changes the whole dynamic, but I still have to walk in it.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      I am so happy that Ali’s words ministered to you.

  • Heather Smith

    I think this is my favorite part: ” I realize more than ever, we can never be as completely ready or perfectly prepared as we may want to be”. It took me so long to learn this and since I have, I have done so much more in a short time than I probably have my entire life!

  • Kim Seghers

    What a beautiful and uplifting post written by your lovely friend Ali . Thank you for sharing her well written post and, a glimpse of the friendship the two of you share.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      You’re Welcome

  • PM

    It is not just you! I was a runner too and for me too the crucial point was the start. It is about grabbing the opportunity as soon as possible with every energy you have..

    • Kimberly Bolden

      So true!

  • MOMentous Mom; Perfectionist

    This post is so inspiring and beautiful. I know that a fear of failure and not making the correct decision keeps me back constantly. Putting your faith in god can be tough sometimes when you are so scared of falling without a net. I guess sometimes just getting off the blocks can be the most difficult part.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      I am glad that Ali’s words have inspired you.

  • Rachel Rutt

    Love this post! I know when I exercise faith and let go of where I think my life should be, everything works out. it always does. How grateful I am to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who will not lead us astray. And that we can communicate with him through prayer is so powerful.

    • Kimberly Bolden

      Amen!

  • A Woman The World Deserves

    This is such a great reminder to go and live your truth and live your own dreams! Thank you for the friendly reminder

  • Joy Aletheia Stevens

    I am so very much that person who doesn’t want to start till everything is all “lined up right.” It’s been a struggle with me because I have a lot of fear of just stepping out, but I find that in waiting to always have everything perfect before I move forward, I just never move forward!

  • Rebekah

    Many times I jump the gun and do what I think I should be doing, instead of waiting on God to tell me when to start. Thanks for introducing us to Ali!

  • Carissa

    I have a big decision to make about my career. So scary! Thank you for the encouragement. I’m totally leaning on God for guidance and peace!

  • Samantha

    Beautiful post, and what a treasure to have a friendship like yours!

  • What a wonderful post about fear and trusting God. plus I love your friendship it reminds me of my best friend who I miss dearly.

  • Weekends With Winter

    What a beautiful post! I too have felt the “I’m just not ready” pull. What I try to do is accept every challenge that comes my way and remember that God is in control and if he’s brought me to it he will bring me through it. Ali you are a beautiful writer!