How Do You Respond To Surprises?

Some people love surprises. It’s the sense of spontaneity that adds spice to their days.

Others would much rather know what to expect, to be prepared to intelligently deal with a situation.

I believe age and experience often bring more caution to our responses. There is however, that personality quirk that likes to push the envelope and venture places where one may not have dared go before.

I tend toward more spontaneity, which is quite different from my three siblings. Same parents, same upbringing, and yet I’m a little more flexible when it comes to something new.

My kids and grands are on the continuum of spontaneity. Some are very ordered and thoughtful; others are more impulsive in their approach to what they can or can’t do.

Ward and Cal, both three years old, are as different as night and day.

Cal is cautious. He is hesitant to do something that he doesn’t understand or is unable see what the results could be. He’s a happy child, usually, but if he’s in a situation where he’s unfamiliar or it appears to be frightening, he’ll have nothing to do with it.

Ward is fearless. He tries anything with abandon that can be a little unsettling. We had some time at our local beach, and there were waves with a size and swiftness that he couldn’t calculate. He headed straight for the water–and was thrown off his feet, the wave washing over him and taking his glasses out to sea.

He got up with a grin, and ran back out again. He couldn’t find his glasses, but that didn’t deter him from heading for the waves.

Cal wouldn’t have anything to do with the incoming masses of water. He kept his distance, watching the whole time, observing what the water did and how others responded.

There is a happy medium that needs to be reached. Abject fear paralyzes us and keeps us from trying new and better things. COVID has caused many to be afraid, and it has been an obstacle to overcome rather than an issue to deal with.

Still others are fearless, not listening to reason or ignoring caution. I know many adrenaline junkies who push the bounds of sanity for the thrill of it. Which doesn’t always turn out well.

How do we choose?

The apostle Paul shared that we have the choice to be wise. “Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life–live wisely, not unwisely. Use your time well, for these are evil days. Do don’t be foolish, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17.

Why care about the will of God? Because He created us intentionally, with special gifts and talents to become more than we can imagine.

If you were to purchase a complicated electrical gadget, you’d never try to turn it on without reading the instructions. The Bible is God’s instruction book for who we are, what will complete us and fulfill us. It makes sense to check with the Maker to see how we’re to move forward.

Fearlessness and fear are extremes that can either propel us to disaster or paralyze us from trying.

It helps to know our instruction manual.

No surprise there.

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