Intentionality Over Reactivity

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Jesus tells us there are two paths through life: the narrow way and the broad way. The broad way has many people on it and it ultimately leads to destruction. The narrow way is one few find and it leads to life.

In context Jesus is saying that the way we live our life really matters, eternally matters.

I want to take what Jesus said and make a point he wasn’t making but I think works in principle. There are many things that this principle could be applied to where there is the popular route and the less popular route. We could apply it to health or pretty much anything that requires discipline on some level.

I believe this applies to two paths on how we interact with others – we can live intentionally or reactively. We can live with intention, knowing who we are and where we are going or we can live reactive to those around us where we allow the decisions of others to dictate everything from our emotional state to our own decisions. Intentional living is the narrow way that few find but leads to life. Reactive living is the broad way that many find but leads to destruction. Failing to choose for yourself is allowing others to choose for you. That is reactive living. Instead be intentional. Choose the narrow way. Choose to not live reactively to those around you. Instead, know who you are and where you are going and don’t let the decisions, emotions and reactions of others keep you from doing what is right. You will find yourself to be less anxious and less caught up in the drama that is so prevalent in this world.

5 Responses

    1. Great point. Detachment feels like a lack of empathy and we don’t want people to think we are aloof…especially if you are in a helping profession. This is where helping professions that require leadership (ministry for example) get all muddled up.

    2. I’m sitting at my desk where I work as a marriage and family therapist. I keep a quote above me that says, “Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It creates the failers. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds onto you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” Anais Nin. And then a wise priest commented, “Panic is contagious. To aid someone drowning we need clear thinking, not empathetic emotion. To think to throw a line is better than to feel for the other. Avoid panic, taking up a clear and vigorous compassion for Christ’s sake.” Of course he isn’t advising aloofness, because an aloof person just wouldn’t care. But, as I know you know, healthy detachment is very different from aloofness. Have you studied the ancient Orthodox writings on apateia?

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