Reactors vs. Thinkers
These are questions that many of us handle as they pop up. We just automatically spit out the answer and move on without spending much time thinking about the question in depth or the effects of the answer.
Hey, Bob, we’re talking about moving you to the other coast to open up a new store, total new concept, new product line, new everything. We have no idea if this will work or not, but the option has opened up and we need to make a decision. Can we count on you to head this up?
And Bob immediately says yes, goes home packs his stuff, informs his wife and children, and away they go.
Hey, Jane, we’re thinking a spring fundraiser would be a great idea for the kids summer trip. We know you have experience with fundraising, kids, and community events so we nominated you to chair the event. All we need now is your signature on the acceptance form.
You do have everything they’ve mentioned, and you happen to think it’s a great idea. You also have a family with a busy schedule, a job that’s working you overtime, a church where you have responsibilities, and belong to three other like-minded organizations. Do you take the pen and sign the form right there on the spot or do you take time to think about it?
I tend to be a reactor, although through the years I’m getting much better at taking a step back to pray and think before I respond, surrounded by thinkers.
If you want to drive a reactor nuts, surround them by thinkers. However, if you are a reactor overlooking thinkers, today’s thoughts are probably for you.
In the past when someone would ask me to do to them a favor, I would usually respond with, “Sure. What do you need?”
Unfortunately, after being asked to do some things that I wasn’t comfortable with, by people I respected, I had to change my response. My new response really drove some people nuts.
“Hey, Carrie, could you do me a favor?”
“Maybe. I will pray and think about doing what ever you present.”
Want to drive a reactor (Remember, I’m typically a reactor.) really nuts? Tell them you’ll pray about something instead of simply agreeing to do what you’ve been asked to do. See, if you’re a Christian reading this post, then you know “I’ll pray about it.” means one of two things.
*One: I don’t want to do this at all, so telling you I’ll pray
about it is going to be my long-term excuse not to do it.
Every time you ask for my answer, I’ll just respond with the
fact that I’m still praying. Guess God’s been too busy to get
back to me on this one.
*Two: I truly am going to pray about until God answers and
tells me what He wants me to do. If you got your instructions
from God, this will go your way. If, however, you came up
with this “good idea”, presented it before praying it through,
and have already sold it to others, well, it’s likely God’s not
going to tell me to do what you’ve asked me to do and
you’re going to look bad.
That sounds so wrong, doesn’t it? And yet some of you were shaking your heads in agreement as you read that statement.
Several years ago (Pains me to say that. Seems like just the other day.) an individual asked my husband to do something. He responded immediately that he couldn’t due to his work schedule. It was impossible. No thinking or praying required for this.
The individual refused his answer. Basically told him they wouldn’t accept his no. They were going to pray that God would change his mind or his work schedule or whatever it took.
My husband came home furious. I found it hilarious.
He was just re-telling me this story one evening this week. He won’t ever forget it. He doesn’t remember it fondly. He thinks the whole situation was handled VERY poorly and in bad taste. (He’s very correct!!!!)
I still smile politely on the outside and die laughing on the inside. I’ll never forget this situation either. I still think it’s hilarious. The reactor used some reverse psychology and got their way.
However, sometimes, we reactors count those thinkers out too soon. Sometimes, “I need some time to pray about this and think it through.”, is the answer we should WANT to hear from others.
Perhaps they’ll pray it through and God won’t lead them to fulfill your request. Or, perhaps God will impart some additional wisdom to them that is necessary for the plan to prosper. And, it may even be that God instructs them that the whole idea is the wrong way to be headed at the time.
In my experience, living with a thinker, he hears God when so many of the rest of us are just running full steam ahead towards what looks like a Godly thing to do.
You know, there are days when feeding and tending God’s sheep and lambs becomes less of a sprint and more of endurance. Jesus asked Peter three times if He loved Him, and gave him instructions three times regarding what He should do as a response to that love.
I don’t think Jesus was wanting Peter’s off-the-cuff reactor answer. Think it through, Peter. You’ve seen so much already. I’m calling you to walk a path that won’t be easy. You’ve already denied me three times. Speaking love and showing love are two totally different things.
Sometimes we need to back off and let people get their answer from God. We may know, that we know, that we KNOW that God is calling someone into a certain ministry, but we need to let that person hear it from God themselves.
It doesn’t mean we can’t encourage them. It definitely doesn’t mean we should just dismiss them and move on to someone else. We reactors just need to take a step back into prayer and let God’s Spirit do the leading.