Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Am a Reactor

No. I am not a source of limitless energy. I am not a location in which atoms are torn asunder and where fission occurs in rapid succession. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I am of the sort of person that chooses the past of least resistance, although perhaps not the "easiest." I am of the sort that allows what happens to happen and happens to work with what happens. I am one that sees effects and takes them, but rarely foresees a cause. I am also of the sort that I am not happy with this situation.

I've read a few books on leadership, watched people I respect in leadership roles, talked about it, walked in it, been told I need to practice it, and so on, but leadership has never been as natural for me as one might think. The problem, as I see it, is reaction. It takes a lot of work for an ordinary person to foresee problems. It takes a lot of work to change a habit or lose weight or gain a virtue. These are things which take more than reaction. So how does one move from reactor to actor? Well, that is where I am currently at. The answer that comes to mind seems a bit too simple, but I tend to think it is true. What fuels a reactor is inability or fear. The reactor simply does what he can to keep the situation from unraveling. For example, I react to the assignment due tomorrow by staying up all night. I react to upsetting my girlfriend by trying to make her feel better. What fuels the actor is purpose.

1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

A purpose can change a reactor into an actor. But this belies another question: where does purpose come from? Well, that is an age old question and has many answers. I am not about to supply the meaning of life for billions of people in a 1,000 word blog post. What I can say is that for the Christian, the meaning of life is a simply creedal direction "to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever." If one truly believes that, then the the purpose which arises becomes a driving one. In short, a thing finds its purpose from its creator. We, in a slight unforeseen turn of events, have a creator who both gives us purpose and gives us freedom on how to carry out this purpose. While he gives us purpose we are given the freedom to find our purpose and to carry it out. The trick, for us reactors, is to live in the light of this truth.

There is no to magic button to turn a reactor into an actor. But if one stays in The Word, in prayer, and keeps in mind the gift of freedom which we have, then I think a actor we will have. Only time will tell, but my prayer is that an actor I will be.

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