Staying Flexible

I remember when we were first making plans to move overseas being taught the importance of flexibility for survival on the field. I studied ballet for many years and one thing that I know for a fact is that one doesn’t become flexible immediately or simply by a resolute act of the will. It comes gradually and with continual practice, yielding oneself repeatedly, willingly, to the uncomfortable tug of the stretch. The result is gradual increased flexibility as muscles loosen and lengthen. And of course, once long and loose, muscles must be continually stretched to remain limber.

I am having great opportunity to work yet again on flexibility at the moment. It might have come naturally with ballet, but natural is not the word that I’d use to describe it as far as things not going my way in life. We are away on a visa trip, one that was originally not anticipated, and pretty much nothing has gone as planned (a.k.a. your standard visa trip). We came with one expectation about how long we’d be here, got great news that it would be shortened by a week, got additional news that it would be lengthened again, and then have found ourselves stranded yet even longer with a van whose transmission and brake system have spontaneously imploded, all costing a pretty penny that we don’t exactly have to spare.

I know that in years past I would likely have found myself in a foul mood, exuding discontent, but exclusively by the Lord’s grace, this time is different. I have had enough similarly stretching experiences to understand well that tensing muscles in frustration only leads to injury. The Holy Spirit, through practice and prayer, has trained in some patience and peace that wasn’t there before.

Sometimes I think I would love to just learn how to be flexible and have that lesson and the training that goes with it over and done with. I know, though, that flexibility is as vital to success in our work as it is to a ballerina, and requires continual training to keep us from gradually growing stiff and brittle, ready to snap when things don’t go our way. And we all know how often it is that things don’t go our way!

So, I praise God for the stretch and chance to stay flexible, praying that I retain that Spirit work and will bend well the next time.

How has God grown you in flexibility? Are there areas where you now find yourself easily flexing where you didn’t before? What areas are still a challenge?

(Post by: Ashley)


6 Responses to “Staying Flexible”

  1. 1 Phyllis March 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Thank you for writing this just now! In most areas, I would say that I have learned flexibility. It’s really not usually a struggle for me anymore. HOWEVER, right now in particular, I feel like I’m going to snap. Our baby is due in about a week, and plans for the birth change just about every day. I am not handling it well at all. Please pray for me!

    I’ve been praying for you, as I’ve seen the updates and prayer requests come through.

  2. 2 Shilo March 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    But exclusively by the Lord’s grace, this time is different…my favorite line in this entirely beautiful post! Blessings, my friend.

  3. 3 Jami Gustafson March 7, 2011 at 1:24 am

    so true! so good to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and His loving ways of making us more and more like Him!

  4. 4 Adriel March 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    How true! Even after 10+ years living overseas, I still have to remind myself all. the. time. that flexibility is key! I’ve definitely gotten better at “defaulting” to flexibility, but I certainly still have lots of room for improvement. 🙂

  5. 5 Addie March 11, 2011 at 3:31 am

    This is a beautiful post! I am learning to be flexible in that I expect that as we learn or get into a routine, it will inevitably change, and I’m learning to be okay with that. 🙂

  6. 6 Elizabeth H. (Russia) May 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Red tape, red tape, and again red tape. I find myself constantly putting everything on hold for those visa extensions, or, in this case, residency status. It refuses to be scheduled in; it almost always takes longer than expected and it’s one area that I really can’t control, no matter how hard I try to find everything out ahead of time and be prepared. I’m still learning about trust and letting go of expectations!

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