The Lord continues to impress upon me the need to be flexible and forgiving, all the time. If you are even close to my age you may remember Gumby. You could twist him up and mold him because he was evidently made of an amazing kind of clay like rubber, very malleable.
Isn’t that just what God wants us to be in His hands? In Romans He is referred to as the potter and we as the clay. Open to being shaped in whatever way He sees fit. Gumby was really made of an interesting rubber that did not dry out and harden like clay but had a consistency that could continue to be re-shaped. That is the parallel the Holy Spirit showed me this week. Don’t dry out, stay flexible!
It is very tempting to think others should do what we think is best, to act the way we want them to. When expectations are not met it is so easy to fall into the trap of disappointment or even judgment. It is interesting that being flexible and being forgiving go hand-in-hand so often.
Because we are all sinful and imperfect we will surely wrong and fail each other repeatedly. So the attitude of forgiveness is vital to keeping us flexible and not rigid in our thinking, our expectations and our view of others. We are commanded to “forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven” us (EPH 4:32).
Being flexible is being open to the plans and ideas of others, you have to be willing to bend; if not, your relationship may break. If a family member of friend disappoints us and we quickly forgive them, trusting that God sees the big picture and that He is in control, not us, it allows us a freedom and joy that the enemy cannot steal through disappointment or judgment. Now, we can trust God, go with His flow, and make the most of opportunities and relationships. With this new attitude we’re able to make changes in our plans and ideas to accommodate others, fit the situation, and give everyone a break, including ourselves.
3 If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.
If our minds are set on higher things, other’s little foibles or words spoken out of turn, are easily forgiven and not dwelt on.
2 Timothy 2:4
4 No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.
I love this scripture. If my attitude when responding to a situation or a word is always to please the Lord then my response and my heart will always be full of flexibility and forgiveness.
When we died with Christ and were raised up with Him we took ourselves right out of the center. No longer are we the key to our own little universe. Our love for others, our forgiveness is to be patterned after the love and forgiveness we have been shown. What greater gift can be given than Grace? We received it so readily and now we have multiple opportunities to “pay it forward”.
Our delight becomes not following our own plans and schedules but rather in accommodating ourselves to His plans and others needs before our own.
Becoming flexible means we are accommodating which tends to eliminate pride. It also gives us a new ability to welcome change as opportunities. This is an attitude that leaves our hearts free to be excited to see what the Lord may do even when our plans may be tossed aside. For the sake of others we adapt ourselves to them rather than insisting that they become the adaptors. The results are awesome because relationships are more important than plans.
Not having a bay area home has meant lots of nights in others homes. Lots of holidays celebrated differently than I might have planned. I have been given many great opportunities to adapt myself to others. I have also been the recipient of some amazing and generous hospitality. The last 4 months living in my sons home in the midst of a construction site has been fun, exhausting, and definitely has had me out of my comfort zone. I have learned to not think of my own comfort as much as how I can help. In the process I am closer to my daughter in law, son and granddaughter. Those three things are worth much more than having my environment just how I like it or doing what I want when I want to. Dying to self has incredible benefits. It has taught me that remaining flexible is a joy.
Living with forgiveness leaves me free of resentment, free of disappointment and out of arena where the enemy is able to attack.