Be proactive and not just reactive

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


WE have to be both, of course, but between the two, it’s being proactive that is more important, since that would clearly show that we are truly driven with love, that there is growth and development in our life, that we are exercising our creativity and sense of initiative.

Being reactive is, of course, important too, otherwise we would be regarded as dead or, at least, insensitive. But being reactive comes more of an instinctive action. We cannot help but react and respond in some way to any stimulus that would come our way, be it small or big. In fact, we have to react if we, at least, want to be aware of what is happening around us.

It’s in being proactive that we have to pay more attention and where we have to train ourselves more. We are notorious for our tendency to fall into routine, and from there into complacency and passivity. We should not allow ourselves to be trapped by routine.

Not that routine is unimportant. It is important and it plays a crucial role in our life! It serves as some kind of a stable structure and foundation of our day, giving us a clear path of how our day should go. Without it, our day would most likely become messy, confusing and chaotic.

But it should be made a living structure, not a dead one. It should give us many openings to allow us to discover new things in life, new possibilities for branching out and going to the next level in our life, especially in the spiritual and moral aspects.

When we are properly proactive, that is, with a proactiveness that is truly animated by love for God and for others, we will notice a certain drive and bursting energy in ourselves. We would be looking for new possibilities, never contented with what we already have, even if in our human estimation, we may be regarded as having accomplished much already.

This proactiveness will never do away with routine. In fact, it may appear to be doing the same thing day in and day out, and yet the love and the quality with which we would be doing the routine things always grows and improves. It never says enough. It never stops at a certain level.

To be sure, this proactiveness can only be a consequence of our identification with God who is the very proactiveness himself. God never stops in his creativity, in his love, in finding ways to save us even if we actively go against him. We have to channel in our life God’s proactiveness.

A proactiveness that is simply a product of human effort can never go far. It would have no defenses against our own natural limitations, not to mention, the infranatural weaknesses we have that are brought about by our sin. Such proactiveness will certainly be short-lived only.

Also to be properly proactive is not only meant for a few people who we may consider as having the appropriate temperament and are enjoying some lucky breaks in life. It is for all, since everyone is supposed to identify himself with God in whose image and likeness we have been created.

So, to train ourselves to be properly proactive basically involves fulfilling our duty to relate ourselves with God as best that we could. There is no other formula we can use to achieve this goal of being properly proactive.