Flexibility is a quality for success in life and leadership. Those who thrive adjust easily to the twists and turns that come their way, even in the midst of challenges.
Where does that leave people like me who love to make a plan and then want to work the plan? What about people like me who value control and try (unsuccessfully) to control the environment and avoid surprises?
Flexibility does not come naturally to me, but I have come a long way. God in His grace has smoothed some of my rough edges that hinder me from going with the flow. I still set goals and develop strategies. I still created check lists and feel a great sense of accomplishment as the items are checked off. But I have learned that organizations are constantly changing. People come and go. Nothing stays the same. New ways need to be implemented to respond to the fluid environment.
Refusing to change means to move toward disorganization or even death. Adjustments must be made in order to navigate situations toward greater health.
Our response to making adjustments to unforeseen situations is critical. We can react negatively with resistance, frustration, or anxiety. Or we can embrace the chaos. We can view it as an adventure that, when handled with faith and wisdom, will lead to better opportunities.
Embracing the chaos has required me to have a different mindset, and to hold to two principles.
I will be content now. I do not have to wait to get “all my ducks in a row” to be happy. My joy is not determined by circumstances. As the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11, NLT). I can address a problem at hand, while also focusing on what is working well. By fixing my thoughts and attention on positive things and the blessings of the Lord, my attitude is lifted. My heart and mind are surrounded with God’s peace.
Jesus is present in the chaos. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:5). One of the names of God is Yahweh-Shalom (Judges 6:24). According to Strong’s Concordance 7965, Shalom means “completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony.” We tend to think of peace as “the absence of agitation or discord,” which is just a small part of it. God’s completeness, health, tranquility, and rest are present when we trust Him. Psalm 46 describes it this way:
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea (v. 1-2). In the midst of chaos, He is there.
As we view the Lord as our source of well-being—and not our circumstances—we face the chaos with courage and view the future with confidence.
Heavenly Father, teach me to place my trust deeply and immovably in You. Walk with me as the Lord of Peace. Help me to be flexible when facing things unexpected or unknown. May I view change as a friend rather than an enemy, as an opportunity to see Your plan more clearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.