Have you ever launched headlong into a project, a trip, a relationship without doing any groundwork? You had a completely stress-free experience, right? No, I didn’t think so.

Does groundwork guarantee a smooth encounter? No. Does it ensure success? No. “The point then?”, you ask. The point is that the value is in the information gained during the work. The value is in being prepared for some of the challenges you may face. The value is in not having to rely solely on your feelings while making decisions. The value is in the confidence you gain. The value is in reducing your stress.

Think about it. Wouldn’t you benefit from finding out ahead of time what you need for your next project? Imagine yourself constantly interrupting yourself or others to find something or buy something you just realized you needed. Imagine the waiting and frustration, the exhaustion and frayed nerves. I won’t even bother to include a deadline in the scenario.

Let’s turn to your dream trip. You have a ‘moment’ and just… go. Every ad you’ve seen is of sun and sand and pineapple-tipped drinking straws in coconuts. Off you go… into the rainy season, and oppressive humidity, and mosquitoes. You see (or feel) my point.

Ah, the relationship. Feelings are all you need, right? Perhaps you’re right. Maybe you can wait until marriage to realize that you know nothing real about him or her, their background, finances, or dealings. Hmmm…

Maybe you’re thinking, “I would never be caught in any of those situations”. But what about your future? Maybe you have a dream or a goal – something you want to do, something you want to be, someplace you want to go. Maybe it all seems a little far-fetched right now, too abstract – the form isn’t coming together, so you’ve placed it on the back burner until there’s something you can do. Well, good news! There is something you can do – your groundwork. Do the research. Take the small steps.

Don’t let your dream catch you unprepared.

ZECH 4-10