Friday, September 16, 2022

Five Minute Friday - Spontaneous

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One word. Five minutes to write about it. This is the idea behind Five Minute Friday and this is today's free-writing post.

spontaneous combustion
spontaneous laughter
spontaneous change


For most of my life, I've thought of myself as willing to be spontaneous, and for the most part I thought that was a good thing. Then a few years ago (ten, maybe??) I heard myself say this:

At this point in my life, I need more warning in order to be spontaneous.

And although it still strikes me as funny and ironic, it was at that point that I began to wonder if spontaneity was all it was cracked up to be. Or maybe if it was only for the young. After all, in a way it is so much easier to change your plans on a moment's notice when you don't have all those adult responsibilities to consider.

So is it good to be spontaneous? When something is spontaneous it occurs "as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus".  That sounds like it could be good or bad, depending on the impulse, and I think we'd all agree that just acting out every whim or idea that occurs to us without thinking can be a recipe for disaster. In fact, it sounds rather like a lack of discipline, or like recklessness.

The wise are cautious and avoid danger;
fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
~Proverbs 14:16~

Wise people think before they act;
fools don't - and even brag about their foolishness.
~Proverbs 13:16~

Why did I think it was good to be spontaneous? Perhaps I was confusing spontaneity with the freedom and courage to take chances and try new things, or with a joyful and adventurous spirit. I wonder if my ironic comment about needing to plan in order to be spontaneous was more insightful than I realized. Practically speaking, when my life is reasonably well-ordered and I've been keeping up with my responsibilities, I do have the freedom to accept a last minute invitation or the confidence to adjust my plans on the fly when something comes up. And on a deeper level, being able to recognize the voice of my God helps me to discern whether an impulse is from my own imagination or the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 

Spontaneity is freedom to respond to what God has guided. ~Lloyd John Ogilvie

That is the good kind of spontaneity. Being free to follow God's leading and trust him. Just being spontaneous and doing whatever the momentary impulse tells you to do might be a thrilling adventure, but it's at least as likely to be chaotic or foolish. A more reliable source of joy and satisfying adventure is found in following Jesus.

Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
~Psalm 119:35~


Meticulous planning will enable everything a man does to appear spontaneous. ~Mark Caine


This post is linked at Five Minute Friday for the word prompt "Spontaneous".

This post will also be linked at Let's Have Coffee hosted by Joanne Viola: Days and Thoughts

 Joanne Viola

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Rishie said...

I like your post, it was insightful. Spontaneity is a good thing ... in moderation.

Andrew said...

I've always leapt before I looked,
jumping into stark surprise,
and even when my goose seems cooked,
I play the ball right where it lies
with a rustic's happy grin,
analog, not pixelated,
and usually eke out a win
when disaster was clear-fated.
Perhaps I should have warned my wife
(you see, we met online)
that this was how I lived my life,
but I thought she'd be fine
with my gladly given deal
of no hands on the steering wheel.

Donna said...

Love your thoughts, Kym. We think so much alike! I used to think I was spontaneous too, but then I realized how foolish that became in my life, leading to many poor choices for the sake of "spontaneity". I love the quote by Ogilvie-THAT'S my kind of spontaneity!

Cindy said...

Great post, Kym! Very well stated. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week.

Joanne Viola said...

Kym, such a good post. "At this point in my life, I need more warning in order to be spontaneous." This made me smile as so do I! The Lloyd John Ogilvie quote is gold and truly drives home the wisdom in knowing the source of spontaneity. I so appreciated reading this post today!

Barbara Harper said...

This is so me: "At this point in my life, I need more warning in order to be spontaneous." I like knowing what's ahead, and I like having plenty of time to adjust to changes. My problem has been battling a negative attitude when a sudden shift comes, even when it is obviously from the Lord. I've sometimes regretted not being more spontaneous. But I appreciate the reverse view you brought out--that it's good to be stable and thoughtful and not always flying off when the notion strikes.

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