Let me tell you "why."
Once upon a time, I was leading a ministry to inner-city kids through our church. The nature of this ministry was that you never really knew who was going to show up. Not how many kids would be there, not how many volunteers. I just knew that I was going to be there.
Invariably, I would get really anxious the morning of the events. No matter how much communication I had done with my team before hand I was never sure how many of them would show up on the day of the event. Some people either never responded to calls or emails, or said they would be there but had a change of plans. We just never knew. This is the nature of working with volunteers.
Finally, over time and after many, many, many day-of-the-event mornings feeling really stressed out I realized I was being ridiculous. So of course, I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with myself.
Isn't this a church ministry you're leading here? Well, yes.
Isn't this something you thought God wanted you to do? Well, yes.
Aren't there people you can call if you need help? Well, yes.
You prepared ahead of time, right? Yes, of course.
If all of that is true, then don't you think that God has gone before you and prepared the way? Don't you think that just the right volunteers will show up today, despite your efforts? Don't you think that just the right kids will be there today, and just the right number? (Apparently I scold myself just like I do my kids. They'll be glad to know that.)
It was working through this lesson with this ministry that I developed a personal mantra of "just show up, and go with what you've got."
It's kind of similar to the way I felt on the morning of our wedding. I was a huge stress ball up until the Friday before. On Saturday morning I woke up and realized, if it's not done by now, it's not happening. There was no more time for preparation. The big day had arrived.
Same thing in volunteer ministry. I made all the preparations. I made all of the calls. Sent all of the emails. Made maps. Made plans. And yes, I prayed. I prayed for those kids constantly. I still do.
The point is, you prepare. You do everything in your power to make the event happen. And when the event arrives, you show up, because you said you would. You show up because people are counting on you. You show up because God has gone before you and prepared the way.
And when you arrive at the event you go with what you've got. You've been given the skills and the experience you need for such a time as this. You've been given the heart and personality that will help make this event fantastic. And guess what! It's never about you anyway!
It was always about those kids, and what we could give to them. It was always about meeting their needs, and about loving them and their families.
So guess what? I showed up. And I went with what I had. And I learned a valuable life lesson along the way.