I think spontaneity is safe.
Which seems a little scary to think about, because especially for those of us who love our structure and order and certainty, spontaneity triggers a little discomfort. But there's no denying that joy bursts from it, adventure is born of it, and its spark ignites seasons of mundane, possibly even boring existence into seasons of growth and excitement. Spontaneity is a necessary concept for those of us who want a little more out of life: a little more joy, a little more adventure, a little more real, raw, gritty, creative, deep, live-from-the-heart existence. Which, if you're here reading this, is probably you too.
So why does spontaneity seem so scary?
I really try to think about this, about why. As a creative person - a painter, an artist, and a nomad who moves around regularly- spontaneity has become my norm now more than ever. Not that moving from the need for lots of control to the need for whimsy and freedom was easy. But if there's one thing I've learned over time, it's that creative ideas, be they manifested in a painting, or a life move, or an adventure to someplace new, begin with a spark: some initial idea that can be acted on (or at least incubated in thought, and acted on later), or squashed.
And I think people with big, creative, juicy lives are just people who squash as little of those sparks as possible.
They run with things. They look for and embrace spontaneity; they've recognized it as a wise approach to a life in forward motion.
Sometimes I think it is a more attractive idea after a long work day to go outside and wander through a nearby forest preserve than to simply head right home and justify doing my chores. Which is not to say I won't do my chores, but just to say, to my spirit, it is more helpful to get some fresh air than deal immediately with what is strictly utilitarian. I don't mind doing my chores, and I actually enjoy them more when they are simply something that has to get done versus something that takes precedence over what I truly love. We tend to resent- and get stuck in ruts with- things that we know are keeping us from the things that really ignite what we love in our soul.
Sometimes I think it is a more attractive idea to forgo making a guaranteed, consistent few thousand dollars a year at a job I'm not totally crazy about, and move somewhere new and inspiring: like to another state, or the border of a national park, or overseas for a few months. Which is not to say it's okay to abandon all responsibilities or relationships and just run off. A new experience will only introduce a new kind of beauty to life, but it never reverses or undoes prior darkness. Those are two separately dealt-with issues, but I know that spontaneity can absolutely make room for freshness, for beauty.
Which brings into the equation another important component about spontaneity: it is most beautiful when its foundations are anchored in consistency. To be spontaneous is not the same thing as to be sporadic, or inconsistent, or all over the board. Spontaneity is its own joyous, playful, light-hearted quality, manifesting in all kinds of new beauty only when it springs from consistent convictions, values, and light.
Whether in regards to a big move or the decision to do just a little something different, spontaneity is a beautiful, healthy thing. It reminds us to imagine. It forces us to be present. It moves us toward the life God wants for us: refreshed, joy-filled, overflowing- and taking nothing for granted. A life that allows space for big, exciting things- even if at first they seem scary, or weird. I always think of Tozer's words: "the man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrendered to Christ can't make a wrong choice- any choice he makes will be the right one."
We must keep this foundation in mind when walking on the wild side: it is freedom to know our God wants us out in the world as burning examples of joy, play, love, and spontaneity, all flowing from His peace. It is freedom to know that with a centered heart, we get a life safe- truly safe- to go anywhere.
If you're looking ease into exercising the art of spontaneity (where the very worst that could go wrong is that the food doesn't taste very good), cheapskate pasta is for you. It's a quick and easy (and delicious) recipe that lends itself perfectly to both personalization and play.
Father God, help me to take root and refuge in You alone so that the trials of life alone cannot destroy me, the joys of life alone cannot satisfy me, and the beauty of my future remains in front of me in unending hope. Help me hear your voice and listen to what I must do to continue to invite your Kingdom into my heart, so that my life may shine before others as an example of the encouragement and freedom that comes from You. Help me relinquish the need for control, self-governance, and self-protection that is of my flesh, by helping me focus on Your spirit, not my strength. Help me depend on You daily, so that my freedom is eternal and my life kept secure in Your goodness. Amen.
Go to a quiet place and spend time alone with a notebook and pen. Pray, asking the Lord to reveal to you openly what your heart is truly longing for. Imagine, making a list of wildest dreams, adventures, and longings, as though anything were possible. Write openly what comes to you in these moments from God and from your own heart, and revisit this list often to remind yourself of how beautiful your voice and heart are when they are open, free, and surrendered to receiving. Remember these truths, revisit them, and remind yourself of the beauty that comes from such purity of thought.