October 5, 2007
by Charles R. Swindoll
John Gardner, a United States cabinet member under President Johnson, once pointed out that by their mid-thirties most people have stopped acquiring new skills and new attitudes in any aspect of their lives.
Does that jolt you? Stop and think, you who are over thirty. How long has it been since you acquired a new skill? How many new attitudes have you adopted? Are you compelled to approach a problem the same way every time? Does a maverick (even wild) idea challenge you or make you retreat into your shell? Have you lost that enthusiastic zest for discovery or adventure? Are you becoming addicted to predictability?
I’ll let you in on a secret: Living and learning go hand in hand; existing and expiring do too. The constant curiosity and probing inquisitiveness of preschoolers make every day completely fresh and exciting. To them learning is natural; to many adults it’s a nuisance. I find that amazing.
If you are saying to yourself, “Well, that’s just the way I am; I can’t change,” then you are limiting God, discounting His power and denying His presence. He’s offering you an “abundant life,” and you’re settling for a bland diet of tasteless existence.
Now I’m not suggesting you go out and do stupid stunts to prove your unpredictability. However, why not turn your everyday problems into creative projects? Why not take life by the throat and achieve mastery over a few things that have haunted and harassed you long enough? Why not broaden yourself in some new way to the greater glory of God?
Remember Caleb? He was eighty-five and still growing when he grabbed the challenge of the future. At a time when the ease and comfort of retirement seemed predictable, he fearlessly faced the “invincible” giants of the mountain. His story is told in Joshua 14. There was no dust on that fella. Every new sunrise introduced another reminder that his body and a rocking chair weren’t made for each other. While his peers were yawning, he was yearning.
If you are determined and work quickly, you can keep the concrete of predictability from setting up around you. But if the risks of sailing your ship in the vast ocean of uncertainty make you seasick, you’d better stay near the shallow shores of security. Concrete sinks fast, you know.
I challenge you: This week do something totally unpredictable, even if it’s only taking a different route to work. A change of scenery could change your outlook . . . but you’ll never know until you try.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.