As I observe individuals in action across cultures, ages, and situations, I have a growing theory on spontaneity. The premise is along the following lines: individuals are spontaneous when they think nobody is watching or if they are operating from the safety of a group. It does not work all the time, however it applies to many including myself. When we are with a group, we will do all kinds of things that are potentially embarrassing, fun, or even risky. Individually, we are much more conservative at least publicly. We will be spontaneous; however, it will usually be in the context of safe, predictable, and with a low degree of embarrassment risk. There are exceptions, but not many.
You see this premise at work across the spectrum of human behavior and interactions. High school pranks and protests are rarely singular. Adults talk of taking risks, doing the unexpected, yet unless there is support from friends and allies the talk usually remains just words. Rhetoric is often the currency of the rich and powerful; deeds are left to those that care from the inside out.
In this context, God often acts as a contrarian. We are invited to act merely on the leading of the Spirit. We are called to engage as solo ambassadors, exposing our souls to the ridicule and criticism of others. Others may not recognize what seems compelling to us.
The tension in this calling has been around for a long time. When one individual heard the call, “get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He's there praying.” (Acts 9.11) His response changed the course of Saul's life.
In the spirit of a warning, it is not always obvious, even to the believer, when God whispers in our lives. Yet, it is being spontaneous that we discover the greatest experiences in living. In simply reacting, dispensing compassion without regard, mercy without consideration, and acceptance without filters we can discover what it means to be fully and completely alive.
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