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Proactive Versus Reactive

How can I be more proactive in my life?

Sometimes life is moving so fast that all you can do is react to it.  Surprises, disappointments, quick decisions and demands put you in a place where all you can do is let your emotions and thoughts jumble together and spit out a response that may or may not be what you would have planned.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reactions and how often how you react to things is a peek into the state of your heart.  Also, how in God, we can use prayer, the Word of God and wisdom that only comes from Him to help be prepared for life.

So what is the difference between being proactive and reactive?  And how can we build proactivity into our daily lives?


Reactive: Done in response to a problem or situation: reacting to problems when they occur instead of doing something to prevent them.    

Have you ever been at a family gathering, Thanksgiving or Christmans when an argument erupts? And everyone is upset and it takes at least a month for the problem to deescalate? These are reactionary problems that just seem to happen spontaneously. But do they?  Often I feel like there are many ways to avoid reactions.

Reactions can also be in the form of things that catch you off guard. They can be spiritual things that through you off your game and effect your faith.

Ephesians 6:13  Wherefore take on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.

The Word tells us that there will come surprises, attacks and things that will try to hurt our mind, faith, spirit and where we go.  It tells us that if we just let ourselves react to everything and not prepare–we will be caught unaware and unprepared.

We’ve all had those moments in life where we literally feel like the life got sucked out of us.  Disappointment, complete shock or reactions we were unable to control.  But those times are lessons in which we can learn about ourselves, what our triggers are, and how we can prepare using the spirit of God to avoid reactionary patterns in our lives.




Proactive: controlling a situation by making things happen or by preparing for possible future problems. Acting in anticipation of future problems, needs or changes.

Here is the exciting part about God, about life and about the life we live:  we can plan.  We can set goals, we can use wisdom to plan for circumstances and things that might injure or wound us. God has given us the authority to live deeper, see beyond the everyday and receive instruction from Him.

Steps to Being Proactive

1. Using wisdom. “Let wisdom have her perfect work, wanting nothing.” Wisdom is a tool that helps things grow. Wisdom sometimes cuts, sometimes heals but always is effective.

2. Asking hard questions. Sometimes being proactive hurts because you have to question yourself and others about motives, intentions, flaws and inconsistencies. But the good news is that asking these questions ahead of time allows for processing and growth.

3. Thinking ahead-using times of quiet to plan ahead. Quiet time and study are necessary to process situations in life and also allow for time to hear the voice of the Lord.

4. Thinking about possible problems or situations. The delicate balance is not to become a fearful or negative person–but instead wise.

5. Using the spirit of God in prayer.  Without prayer you only see life in a certain dimension. Prayer allows you to see to greater depth the plan and will of God.


Think about people in the Bible who were reactors versus people that were proactive.

Reactive Proactive
Moses to the rock. He was frustrated and reacted in anger instead of taking time to understand why God was going what he was doing. It cost Moses to have to wait for a promise of the Lord. Esther. She literally planned the saving of all Jews in the land. She heard about the evil plan, she made a plan and carried it out without losing her emotions or voice. And because of her focus on the plan she carried it out without question. The king respected her because of her resolve and plan.
Peter on the night of Jesus’ death. He reacted to people questioning him. He cursed and showed weakness on the very moment when Jesus was sacrificing everything. Peter just was afraid and couldn’t see Jesus’ plan. His reaction and fear were his belief system at that time. Noah. He had a plan. He followed the voice of God even though people questioned him. He had faith in the plan and saved his family. God used him and gave him a promise.

So I’m taking some quiet time today.  I’m asking God what He wants in my life.  Reflecting on this week, what do I want to accomplish in my daily life, in my spiritual life?  What do I want to invest in people I love? And most of all, how can I plan to be proactive?



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