The Never Ending Balancing Act: Structure versus Spontaneity

Change versus Spontaneity post

I’ve been thinking over the weekend about change. There are a lot of experts that advise you that change is good and that you shouldn’t be resistant to it. Then you have plenty of experts on the opposite end of the spectrum that say that setting deadlines is a good thing and that having structure and routine is something that can help stabilize someone’s life and help them to stay focused on the journey ahead of them.

I tend to lean more to the side of routine and structure, perhaps I lean a little too far in to it. It’s no secret to anyone who truly knows me that no matter how open I appear to be to change and spontaneity, I am extremely resistant to it. I’d like to say that I’ve only recently grown a barrier to the idea of change but I think I’ve always been this way since I was a little girl. I like knowing what’s going to happen, to know the way the day is going to go and precisely what I’ll be doing and when. That kind of structure pretty much guarantees the same outcome and while that may seem boring to some, it’s also safe. I guess the problem is that it may be a little too safe.

The odd thing is that the kind of life I’ve always dreamed of having for myself, since I was ten years old, could never be possible without embracing the idea of change and being spontaneous. There are a lot of things that I would change about my life and one of the things at the top of that list is my resistance to change itself, and my anxiety over the things that I do not know. So what is the right way to go about things?

Do you go with throwing caution to the wind and embracing every change that comes your way or do you plan and set deadlines and stick to a structure that helps keep you on track? I suppose that is what I struggle with because I want to be spontaneous and accept whatever changes may come my way but then I lose my balance and the shifts that begin to happen don’t allow me to stay focused and on track. Where is the middle ground on change versus structure? Is there a good balance between being overtly open to every changing scenario and still keeping enough structure to stay on course?

It’s easy for me to just say that structure is what works for me and leave it at that but if it was truly working then I would be where I want to be by now. Perhaps the very reason I haven’t reached that next level just yet is because I’m too afraid to reach out and grab the ledge above me because that means I would have to actually let go. To let go is scary. That means I have to trust what’s coming next, in an outcome that I can’t see.

Change is necessary to go to the next step on my journey and I know that but it’s hard to not know how things will turn out. So I guess the question is can I have structure and still fully open myself up to change or am I just going to keep holding on to the things that I already know. I don’t know how I truly feel about letting go of the structure that keeps me so grounded but I guess this year (my year of no excuses) will help me see just how open I can be.

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Structuring Ourselves In Order to Sustain His Blessings

“Your real strength, your guts, your tenacity, your staying power, your discipline, is in the things God did for you when nobody was looking.”

~Bishop T.D. Jakes 

I realized last night that my post yesterday was a little unfinished.  I don’t think that the message that I was trying to convey was finished yet.  I was reading Ms. L’s blog post this morning and realized that there was more I needed to say.  She spoke of having doubts in her mission and her purpose with what she is trying to do with her company and her new magazine, PIEhole, and in reading her post I thought all of these doubts sounded all too familiar for me.  

I hadn’t realized that she was experiencing this much doubt.  I always see her as so well put together and it just always seems that she is fearless and ready to take on the world.  I started thinking back to the Bishop T.D. Jakes sermon that I listened to yesterday and the particular part that I wanted to convey to Ms. L. in her time of doubt, and what I have to get through to my own mind as well, is that greatness takes time.  

“The best miracles in your life take time; can not be driven by hunger, or need, or necessity.  Sometimes you have to get yourself structured and in order so that you are ready to receive the magnitude of what God has for you.  Just because you have a driving need does not mean that you can disperse with the order and the time and the structure that is necessary to hold the weight of what God is going to do.  Some people are so busy trying to get what God has that they don’t provide the structure that is necessary to sustain what they have been given.”  

This quote struck me when I heard it in his sermon.  It hit me like a ton of bricks because I thought about the fact that I have not necessarily built up a stable structure.  I have not yet gotten the order that I need to have to sustain the kind of structure that I need.  It makes sense that God would want to hold onto the overflow of blessings that he has stored up for me until he sees that I have built up a stable enough structure to hold the weight of those blessings.  

I am still working on the order and my structure and perhaps I should stop rushing God along to give me what he knows that I am not ready to sustain.  “Until you can be thankful for something that is not enough, then what you have can not be multiplied into what is more than enough.”  Perhaps my time would be better spent preparing my structure and being thankful for the things that he has already blessed me with and seen me through instead of just waiting for him to do what he has in his plans to do for me.  

So that’s what I’m going to continue to strive for and work on.  I am going to be building up my structure and getting my ‘house’ in order and enjoy and be thankful for what God has already blessed me with on an everyday basis.  He has blessed me with so many things in my life thus far, among them a purpose, knowledge of how to go after that purpose, and the ability to carry out that purpose.  I know that once he feels I am ready for the overflow, my cup will runneth over.  

*(And Ms. L., your cup is already nearing the edge.)*   

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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