The operational definition of flexibility is “not setting my affections on ideas or plans that could be changed by God or others.” Planning is a wise discipline, but what happens when your schedule is changed? How do you respond when a long-anticipated activity is unexpectedly delayed? Do you get upset when others dismiss your ideas and suggest their own instead? A person who is flexible realizes that other people may have equally valuable opinions, suggestions, and methods. He also expects life to bring surprises and is willing to adjust accordingly. Because he steadfastly trusts God, the flexible person responds calmly to situations and reduces stress on others. The Lord gives wisdom and grace to understand that plans may need to be delayed, redirected, or cancelled in order to accomplish God’s best.
The opposite of flexibility is resistance. God reproved this sinful attitude in the Israelites, referring to them as a “stiff-necked people” because they refused to submit to Him. As a result of their rebellious hearts, God chastened them in the wilderness. (See Psalm 95:8–11.) A resistant person is self-centered and opposes change as he holds tightly to his own hopes and goals. He tends to seek fulfillment of his personal desires and control of his own life. When change occurs, he often responds stubbornly because his affections are set on his own will, not God’s. Instead of recognizing the potential benefits, the inflexible person tends to react by complaining, pouting, or arguing. To get his own way, he may belittle a friend’s preference, beg his parents to agree, or dismiss a sister’s suggestion. His pride promotes frustration and resentment, thus disrupting harmony and preventing completion of the goal.
- Does my response to new direction, such as a family move, show that I trust God for what is best?
- How can I demonstrate a gracious attitude when I have been disappointed?
- When plans are changed, do I argue or complain, or do I support those who made the decision?
- Instead of insisting on my ideas, do I respectfully consider others’ preferences and suggestions?
- When someone needs help, do I occupy myself with other activities rather than offer my help?
- Do I avoid or resist requests that are inconvenient or uncomfortable?
- When someone else recommends a better way of doing something, do I try his suggestion?
- Do I misuse flexibility by disregarding commitments, by being late, or by not having a schedule?
- Is my heart in harmony with God’s will so that I can quickly accept changes that may come?
More About Flexibility
God enables me to:
Respect the decisions of my authorities.
Not be upset when plans change.
Look for the good in changes.
Not be stubborn.
See change as an opportunity.
Refuse to compromise what is right.
Be a servant.
Hold all things loosely.
Flexibility in Scripture
A Change in Plans for Joseph and Mary
Revealed in Nature
Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum
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Free Resources for Flexibility
Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!