Sometimes we need to stand strong, and others, we need to bend so we don’t break. How do we know the difference? In Episode 28 of Just One Simple Thing, let’s look at how Paul showed flexibility and three practical ways we can incorporate flexibility into our live.
I’ve spent most of my life near the southeastern coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. So hurricanes are just part of our way of life. After one of these storms, it’s always interesting to observe the damage afterwards. Our former house had some large oak trees in the front yard, with huge trunks and big, spreading branches that shaded the whole front yard. We also had some tall, spindly crepe myrtles that lined the driveway. They produced beautiful flowers in the spring and summer that welcomed visitors with a cheery, colorful display. Not only do the oaks and the crepe myrtles contribute to our yard in different ways, they also respond to the high winds of hurricanes and tropical storms in different ways.
The oak tree is strong but when faced with the winds of a storm, it tries to hold its place. It grimaces and stands its ground, not giving an inch to the storm. As the winds continue to buffet the branches, they break in their weak places and tumble to the ground. The oak may be still standing when the storm is over, but it has lost large pieces of itself that will take years to grow back. The crepe myrtle approaches the storm differently. It bends in the wind, almost doing a merry dance as gales whirl around it.
When the storm is over, the crepe myrtle still stands tall, all its branches in tact, bent but not broken. Which leads us to the dictionary definition of flexibility –“capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent; adaptable.”
While Paul was an oak tree with regard to his commitment to spreading the gospel, he was more like the crepe myrtle when it came to the day to day operations in his ministry. He also spread this attitude of flexibility to his ministry partners. Let’s look at how they showed this on one particular missionary journey, and learn some ways that we can develop flexibility in our lives. Flexibility is born out of humility.
Timothy voluntarily gave up his own rights and personal comfort so that he would not be a barrier to the greater work of Christ. Most inflexibility is rooted in pride. We think our rights, our plans, our way of doing things is better than God’s or someone else’s. But when we allow our desire to do God’s will drive our decisions, we will find that humility and flexibility go hand in hand.
Paul went looking for believers by the river outside a city. Instead of preaching to Jewish scholars or influential businessmen, he found a small group of women. He could have just left and gone back into the city, hoping for something that was a better fit for his own vision. But instead, Paul embraced this unexpected opportunity.
Paul’s flexibility and willingness to embrace the unexpected bore fruit long after that prayer meeting by the river. How can we develop flexibility like Paul? Here are 3 practical ways:
1. Envision multiple outcomes.
2. Evaluate your current plans based on new information.
3. Create flexible time blocks.
I have a worksheet available to help you with those three practical tips. Head over to my free Facebook group Plan & Pray with Do A New Thing and grab it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little mini-series to help you regain your focus, resilience and flexibility. If you have, would you please take a minute to leave an honest review wherever you listen? It helps me to know what is really connecting with you so I can continue to offer the support and resources you need.
I’d love to support you as you embrace this new season! I have some openings for a free 20 minute DEFINE call wherewe can talk about what you learned from your worksheet. CLICK HERE to sign up for your free call.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope by Sally Clarkson
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