God Has Prepared All Of Us

By Lori Bruens, Heartland District Co-Lay Leader

Over the years, I have come to a specific mantra. At the beginning of the year, I anticipate that I will be different by the end of the year than on January 1. Over the last few years, I started writing down significant changes, since sometimes I forget where or how I learned something new. These changes come from all sorts of avenues: a book, a podcast, devotion, a small group study and a conversation.

The following are some of the epiphanies that have changed me:
  • Both/And, not Either/Or. Essentially, law and grace, not law or grace.
  • When we ask, “How are you?” Follow up with “No, really, how are you?” Follow these steps from Jerry Colgna: Genuine, curious, ask, stop, listen, mean it   (Reboot” by Jerry Colgna).
  • Check out the word equanimity (also from “Reboot”). I want that. I know for a fact Jesus had it!
  • Life is hard; you cannot avoid the hard work. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (also personal experience of living through 2020).
  • The work of anti-racism is becoming a better human than other humans. That is the work. Check out Brene Brown’s podcast with Austin Channing Brown.
When I am in my Bible, the fantastic times are when a verse speaks to me that wasn’t in my Bible before.

One verse that wasn’t in my Bible before is Ephesians 2:10; “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I never saw that before. After I read or remember a popular part of scripture (check out John 3:17), it seems to happen. I mean, Ephesians 2:4-9 is written on my heart “it is by grace you have been saved!”

Last year that verse (Ephesians 2:10) found me in September as I kept reading it repeatedly. It’s not so much the words of “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus.” No, it’s “we,” all of us. There aren’t just certain people to do good works. It’s all of us! God has prepared all of us in advance with things for each of us to do. I knew in a loose sense God uses/needs me.

Now I realize I am really up to bat and God has something not only for me to do, but for ALL of us. Think about it, “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,” brings us to the spiritual gifts that God gives us. Then came my awakening that everyone has something that God has prepared in advance for us to do! Gulp. Even today, this verse can come into my thoughts in conversations or Zoom meetings. Hey, everyone, you know you are God’s unique handiwork...there is something you are supposed to be doing, do you know that?

Have I gotten you to ponder how you have changed? I challenge you to write down your thoughts, so at the end of the year, ask yourself, how have I grown this year, so I do not forget? My prayer, especially for our laity, lives into doing good works that “God has prepared in advance for us to do!”