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Are you going through life reactively or proactively?comment (0)

May 5, 2011

By Jean Roberson

Living reactively is like the familiar saying “I’m just keeping my head above water.” You are not in charge of your day. You go to work and the “to do” list is long. You spend your day trying to complete tasks so you can check them off.

I have a son who is entering his teenage years. Sometimes I believe I have spent our family time just getting to activities, being at church and helping finish homework. I wonder if I have taught him what he needs to know as he enters this new stage of life. I need more time.

Conversely living proactively is being in charge of your day. It is being able to handle the demands at hand but still finding time to address the big things. It is developing new projects. Proactive living is taking the time to identify what is coming and planning for it.

Think of how Jesus lived. He was surrounded by need. The Scripture tells us Jesus had to have time to be alone and away from people’s demands. Still Jesus knew He would be leaving this world. So He taught the disciples, preparing them for His departure. He knew what was coming and planned for it, even while surrounded by constant demands.

What makes the difference? How do you go from reacting to everything to living proactively when the everyday demands are not going away?

Maybe the secret is not waiting for a time when all the demands and “to do” lists disappear. Maybe it is not waiting until we have more time.

Perhaps the secret to living proactively is disciplining ourselves to set aside a consistent period of time to plan for the future. If you are most aware in the mornings, then set aside some time one morning a week to plan and work on what is coming. If the afternoons are more productive for you, then deal with new things then. Just be consistent and disciplined about it.  

Turn the e-mail off. Do not answer your phone. Turn the TV off and go to a quieter place to think and work. Then do that work or new thing first.

The Bible never says this, but it seems reasonable that when Jesus was spending time in prayer alone, He may have been talking with God about how to prepare the disciples and proactively accomplish God’s will in the remaining time.

A Takeaway Value …
Taking time out of my busyness to plan for the future can empower me to be proactive in my work and life.

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