Some people would rather sit than take the initiative to make something happen.
I have known men who took very little initiative in their homes.
For example, I knew of a man who spent much time in his recliner each day while the television blared. This was his life after work most days of the week. He seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. When the baby cried, he remained in his chair, expecting his wife to take care of the situation. When he smelled something burning in the kitchen, he continued to stare at the television, expecting his wife to come from the back of the house to check on it. He was passive and took little initiative in his home.
I knew another man who mowed his yard on weekends and often spent hours tinkering with his car. Yet, he took no initiative with his children. He did not initiate conversations with them, much less initiate spending time together.
When I got married, I knew I had much to learn about being a husband.
Of course I had no idea just how much I had to learn. I really wasn’t sure where to begin.
I began to closely watch my father-in-law as he related to my mother-in-law and their children. I noticed that he took initiative with his wife. He did not seem to take advantage of her helpfulness nor did he take her for granted. He took initiative to honor her. He was intentional about speaking highly of her.
As a father, he was very connected with his children. He seemed to be very aware of where they were in their lives and what they might be dealing with. He seemed to pay attention to the “little things” in their lives. His words were affirming and encouraging. Again and again, he seemed to take the initiative in conversations with them.
I have learned that maturing people take the initiative. In fact, leaders are people who have learned to take the initiative.
As the New Year begins, why not consider being more intentional about taking initiative. Some examples:
1. Take the initiative to help. Far too many people wait for someone to ask them to do something. Instead of sitting in the recliner, step toward maturity. Take the initiative to deal with a screaming child, a ringing doorbell, or a burning dish.
2. Take the initiative to solve a problem. Don’t wait for your boss to insist on it. Don’t wait for your wife to Google it. Don’t wait for someone else to notice the problem. Take the initiative to deal with it. Step up!
3. Take the initiative to do the mundane. Open the door for someone. Get up and refill everyone’s tea glasses. Help put up chairs after the event.
4. Take the initiative to pay for the meal when you are dining with friends in a restaurant. Do the same people always pick up the check? If another couple is in your home and you decide to order a pizza, do you ever offer to pay for the pizza? Take the initiative to be generous.
5. Take the initiative to speak to others. So many people wait for others to speak and then talk about the lack of friendliness in others. Take the initiative to speak first.
6. Take the initiative to love your spouse. Do what will bless him/her regardless. Why wait for him/her to make the first move? Maturing people are willing to go first. Is your marriage stuck? Take the initiative to get help.
7. Take the initiative to grow. Growth and maturing doesn’t just happen. Read a good book. Listen to a podcast. Go to a workshop or seminar. Do something intentional for your growth.
8. Take the initiative to do more than just get by. Seek excellence in a few things that matter. Far too many people simply accept the status quo.
9. Take the initiative to lead. Do you have influence with one, five, 20 or a 100 people? Do something that adds positive value in the lives of others. Do you know where others can get help? Point the way. Do you have a gift or skill that is really needed? Step up and model this.
10. Take the initiative to love. Show kindness. Demonstrate good will. Share your knowledge, insight, or resources. Be helpful.
Which one of these ten suggestions connect with you? What is in your life, work, ministry that is waiting for you to take the initiative?