What would you do if you found out that your fiancée was pregnant before your wedding. And the baby isn’t even yours. The expected reaction will be anger and bitterness over such huge betrayal. In the heat of passion, one might even do harm to her, and people would have “understood” and “tolerated” it. This is the usual reaction response to such a situation.
A proactive person would respond to this kind of situation based on his values and principles, not to the situation or conditions. He is able to place a gap between the stimulus and his response. And in that gap lies his freedom to choose his response, taking responsibility for his decision and his action. It is not because “I was angry and blinded by my emotions.” but “I chose to . . . .”
Sounds too idealistic? Pollyanna-ish? Weak? Doormat? No, it is being proactive. It is possible and it works.
Joseph is the most proactive person in the Gospels. Imagine, he just found out that “she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.” What does he do? He responds based on his values. “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”
He took pause. He exercised his freedom to choose his decision. He slept. And in his dream. He firmed up what he knew he must do. “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”
Fairy tale? Just a story? If I look closer and deeply into my life, I am like Joseph dealing daily with such situations and calls for decision. I have often regretted moments of reactivity and I have found great fulfillment in my proactive decisions.