Some of you just experienced reflux-ibility reading that title! The thought of change often results in a tensing of muscles, a rise in blood pressure, and a reactionary anxiety of the unknown.
In our lives overseas, developing a reflex of flexibility is not an option, but an imperative. The process of entering the life calling we have embraced requires a series of psychological tests and personality assessments. (Naturally, you must assume that they are looking for people crazy enough to embark on such a wild adventure!) In truth, our sending agency uses these tools to evaluate overall health and ability to survive in the pressure cooker of overseas assignments.
The rigors of language study, cultural adjustment, assignment responsibilities, family dynamics, interpersonal relationships, and the like command extreme flexibility (and a robust sense of humor!)
If you are to enjoy the experience…one must develop the reflex of flexibility. That is, with every change or curveball tossed your way, you don’t panic or become paralyzed by the circumstances, but you learn to flex and adjust to accommodate the need at hand.
Having hosted many teams over the past 3 years, I have yet to have a trip go as planned. Is this a lack of good planning? Not at all. It’s just the way life happens.
Unforeseen changes. Unpredictable government shifts. Changing dynamics on the ground. (And numerous of other variables that can’t always be accounted for.)
In Mark 6:30-44, we read the miracle where Jesus feeds 5,000 from a boy’s lunch of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Do you think this was a surprise to Jesus? Why did Jesus lead the crowd to a “remote place?”
Nothing like 5,000 “hangry” people…you might need to be flexible enough to outrun that crowd! But Jesus knew that His redirection would lead to an opportunity to build the disciple’s faith and perform a miracle…one that would ultimately bring glory to His father. Without exception, every frustrating “setback”, redirection, delay, change in schedule led me to a place of dependence upon Him and availed an opportunity for life-giving service that I could have never planned on my own.
With a hearty smile on my face and a spring in my step, I have learned to enjoy these moments that require flexibility and creative solutions! I dare say, in hindsight, so do my teams!
Redirections have led to Divine appointments with people I would have never met if things had gone according to plan…healings that would not have occurred…governmental doors that wouldn’t have opened…families never restored…and communities never touched… Do I keep planning? Sure. But I also continue to hone my reflexes to be flexible in every situation. So today…RELAX. Enjoy the adventure. Look for opportunities to be flexible and open to wherever He may lead! Your heart will burst with joy and marvel at His goodness!