The Golden Gift of Flexibility

Control or inflexibility are the enemies of creative living.

When you’re not afraid to shift gears, change your plans, or go with the flow, your spontaneity can be so freeing to your hospitable or creative side!

I'm posting one of my favorite devotions, which I come back to and read often. It has been so helpful to me; I have even made copies and have passed them on to my friends. It has been powerful and challenging, so I am going to share it now.

Many of us are crippled from birth. The backbone of our standard for living comes fused into unyielding rules and regulations. We are rigid in our determination to control life’s course and outcome.

We’re sure, for example, how people ought to look, behave, and respond. Things have to be done a certain way – our way. We know, too, exactly how a godly marriage should operate; and we’re quite familiar with the model of the ideal Christian family scene – which, of course, we intend to duplicate perfectly.

Then real life sneaks up and whacks us from behind, seeking to break our unbending back and our stiff neck, threatening to paralyze us.

There is a cure. We are offered opportunity to exercise the suppleness of godly grace and perspective. Each time life throws us a punch, we can do a deep-knee bend, forcing our muscles of faith, hope and understanding to stretch.

Eventually that brittle backbone will grow strong and supple, bending with the rhythms of grace, yet standing tall and firm in the face of compromise.

All of this requires considerable daily “give.” Such give is not a one-time choice but a lifestyle of generosity, spontaneity, and openness to truth.

How often I have thought that if I could give just one gift to my children – besides a heart for God – it would be the golden gift of flexibility.
(Susan L. Lenzkes)

I am so challenged by that last sentence. I do want to give this gift to my children. I’ve had to learn to accept situations that arise when I’m least expecting them, and to go with the flow and learn how to relax. But it hasn’t always been easy. Spur of the moment dinners or friends stopping in or calling 1 hour before they arrive are examples.

Once I figured out that it wasn’t the food or presentation that people were coming over for, I let my guard down and began to enjoy.

Flexibility: What a Golden Gift it is!

(photos: Easter 2007 at our friends' house; even the Dads had fun hiding 120 eggs!)


An Ordinary Mom said...

Flexibility is a gift and it is a talent that can be learned. Thanks for sharing this!

Joy said...

This one really hit home for me! Thanks for sharing... :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom!

I love the Easter photos. And it's so GREEEN in Oregon already...

Gardener Greg said...

What a great looking family and wonderful words to live by. If only you could hit me with them every day, maybe it would sink in. I know this is my biggest hurdle to get over. I am one of those people that plan my day and I get upset when someone changes my plan. I don't know what that is, maybe I want to be in control or something like that. I let this little thing upset me to know end. Thank you for these great words, I will come back and read them daily until it sinks in. I try to be flexable but it always seems like I am the one that does the bending and never anyone else. Any suggestions???

HeatherJ said...

I have always been a little on the rigid side, but I would love to be a mom who handles life's little problems with flexibility and a smile on my face. I think that would be great for my kids. I'm going to work on it some more. Thanks for the great advice (as always!)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post..I got your name from Southern Hospitality, I do unfortunately see myself in your post...I need to work, I mean WORK on my flexibility. Thanks for an eye opener !!!

Also, after reading the other comments I see I'm not alone..I have to say that does on some level comfort me !!!

Kathy :)

linda t said...

Great post Sandy!
Learning to flex when entertaining... wow... that came about when I would invite guests over and they would always be late. I'm not kidding Sandy, almost every time I'd have friends or family over, they would be late! These were the years that I had little kids and I would take it sooo personal.
So now I tell them when to come and factor in that they may be late and then plan accordingly. Over the years I have tried not to have expectations that will not allow me to flex when it doesn't go as I planned.
How do you deal with late-comers Sandy? Any tips?

Christal said...

Loved reading today, your blog is uplifting! Thanks!

Barb said...

My husband will never cut meat or mash potatoes (for example) until the guests have arrived, cuz he sez you never know if they'll be on time or not. That means we hafta stand around and chit chat awhile once they get here, as we finish the meal preparation, but that's really why we invited them anyway--to spend time with them. I got a lot more flexible after we had our 4 kids, then even a little more after we got farm animals, but my husband still thinx I have CONTROL issues that limit my flex-ability. Oh well... :o)

Julie said...

Excellent post, Sandy. I LOVED this devotional. Sometime (just sometimes, now...) I think I should be nicknamed Miss Uptight. Sigh. It's a battle for me.

I've learned to ask for the ability to stay supernaturally relaxed. And God's grace is there, teaching me the importance of flexibility.

Thanks for sharing this...I might just copy it for myself to re-read! Is that alright?

Rhonda said...

Thanks for commenting on my site. I've been perusing your blog; very interesting. Entertaining is a challenge for me. I do get a little stressed about the expectation that I put on myself. My husband is great though; he'll take right over and tell me to just relax. I'm great with our small group that we lead in our home; but family - that's another story. :)

Bless you,


Sandy said...

Wow! Lots of questions. Linda --if it's a low-key meal, it doesn't bother me when people are late. But if it's a sit-down meal (which I'm known for), people know to come on time. Maybe be more assertive, Linda, and if you want people there on time, tell them! Say, "we're eating at 6 sharp, so don't be late." See what that does. I've been late myself, so my rule of thumb is to always plan my "eating" time 30 min. later then when guests arrive.
Mr. Greg -- lower your expectations a little so you don't feel like you are the one always bending? Or if you're letting people walk all over you, maybe read, "No More Christian Nice Guy." It's a GREAT book!
And of course, Julie, print this off! I copied it several times :)

Nadine said...

Lovely pictures of the family. Flexibility is a gift...those who are flexible will not break.

linda t said...

Love that! Flexiblity is a gift... those who flex will not break. This is good stuff!
Thanks for your response Sandy!

La Tea Dah said...

Hi Sandy,

Thank you for visiting Gracious Hospitality! Please come back again.

I love your Easter photos --- what a lovely group of teens (and Dad's too). Everyone looked like they were having so much fun. It's the thing memories are made from.

God bless your day!

PS: It wouldn't be southern O if id didn't rain, right? We had a deep frost last night over on the east side. The wind machines are still whirring in the orchard next door at 7:30 am. . .noisy night.

org junkie said...

Sandy I've never thought of flexibility as a gift to my children. What a great way to think of it. I loved that quote by Susan. This is something I have been working on for so long now and although I am better, I still have a long way to go.
Very insightful, thank you.

Rhoda said...

Sandy, you always post such words of wisdom to think about. I think women in general seem to struggle with being rigid and wanting things just so, & we certainly have to learn to let go of control & be flexible. I know I sure have had to do that many times...with age (and spending much time with God), comes wisdom. Thanks for sharing another wonderful devotion & making us think.

I'm getting ready to send out my invitations for the neighors dessert gathering at our house in 2 weeks, so wish me much success!

Bettsi said...

Ah, flexibility. That lesson was brought home again this Easter!
Sandy, I really liked what you said about figuring out that people aren't coming for the food or the presentation. I learned that Sunday, when I had guests stay long after the food was gone and the mess was everywhere. They stayed because they liked being in my home! That was really cool. It wasn't until I read your words that that occurred to me! Thank you, Friend. It looks like you had a lovely time!