Predictable

He’s about as predictable as a wasp on speed!

There is a commercial running on broadcast television that defines predictable as the comfort in knowing where things are headed. That’s a very lovely yet very narrow definition. Generally, it is defined as “able to be predicted.” If you’re talking about trading on the open market, the comment typically is “the market is volatile and never predictable.” A derogatory definition is “behaving or occurring in a way that’s expected.” Unfortunately, this is a definition I am personally familiar with. A predictable person is one for whom it is easy to anticipate actions; easy to foresee or anticipate what he or she will do. An example of a predictable person is someone who always shows up drunk.

In fiction, we find the predictable boring. In real life, we find the unpredictable terrifying. I’ve heard it said that an artist should paint from the heart, and not always what people expect. Predictability often leads to the dullest work. In comparison, in The Art of War Sun Tzu said, Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

When Predictability equals Immutable Truth

Unlike us, God is totally unchangeable, and has revealed to us many things about His immutable character. He is ultimately and fundamentally predictable. I can predict, for instance, that God will never leave me, nor forsake me; that He will work all things out to good for those who love Him; that He will hear and save all those call on His name. To doubt these things or fail to depend on them would be a great insult. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 

The naturalist believes naturalism is a logical conclusion for atheists. Naturalism maintains that all things in the universe are the byproducts of natural laws, behave according to natural laws, and that such laws cannot be violated. Accordingly, atheists believe theism grants power to an omnipotent being who, by definition of being “all powerful,” could cause the universe to operate in any manner they choose. Here’s an interesting thought: What if any laws we might think we observe are merely the coincidental result of God’s choice to make things happen that way at the exact moment when we’re looking?

Routine versus Schedule

Predictability isn’t something you could say I’ve aspired to embody. It sounds sort of boring, doesn’t it? Not something the Cool Kids are into. I’ve never sought it out. That is, not until after a decade of stumbling around the chaotic territory of bipolar disorder, and, before that, nearly thirty years of active addiction. And when the two met, it was the “perfect storm.” As I struggled to manage my mental illness, and get clean and sober, my father told me I was addicted to chaos. That I needed to live on the edge. I think he was right.

I found it helpful to create routines rather than schedules. (Besides, there would be plenty of time for schedules and punching a clock once I got well and was able to return to full-time gainful employment.) Routine smacks of lifestyle, and I was certainly in need of changing that. For me, stability comes from routine.  I did find benefit, however, in ritual, no matter how contradictory that might sound. For example, morning meditation and regular time in my “war room” like in the movie of the same name. Prayer seemed almost meaningless to me for a long time. I realize now that this was rooted in poor self-image and thinking I deserved nothing of value from God or anyone.

What You Can Do to Help Yourself

Take some time to think about a few concepts, such as what the term predictable means to you. Where do you think this definition or concept originated for you? What do you think the difference is between schedule and routine? Can routines be healthy? What are your daily Dos and Don’ts? What are some of the meaningful or constructive rituals you use daily? What new habits might you be able to cultivate to help you reach your goals?

An example of high predictability would be a mouse who was trained to push a lever after it sees a light. It receives food after it pushes the lever. After the mouse has been trained and repeated this task hundreds of times there will be a high predictability that the mouse will hit the lever once it sees the light again. Do you have a high level of predictability in a particular area that is bad for you? Something that might be sabotaging your goals? Remember, there is absolutely no shame in seeking help for those serious, dangerous or predictable behaviors you just can’t seem to quit on your own.

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