My mom always “added” to the beatitudes scribed in the Bible, a household beatitude. “Blessed are the flexible for they will not be bent out of shape.” Though usually met with a rolled eye or a snicker, there is so much truth to that statement. Isn’t it true the times we usually get upset are when someone did something different then we envisioned it or when something happens that wasn’t in our plan?
The older I get the more wisdom I realize this statement contains. In a world surround by the “right” to be offended by virtually anything, it’s becoming rarer to find people that can go with the flow. I am finding things I used to let bother me, I now meet with a shoulder shrug and a plan B. It makes life much more joyful!
When you decide to invest your life in people so many expectations will go unmet. Allowing yourself to become upset or worse yet, heated and bitter usually doesn’t end well. Things get said never to be taken back. In the moment what feels good to get off your chest becomes a reoccurring playlist in your head of things you should have said differently or not said at all.
This thing called life is hard. Relationships with people would be easy if it weren’t for the people! Ha! I’m continually learning as I try to guide my children through their teen years, some battles are not worth fighting. My kids are truly the best, but as siblings generally do, they butt heads at times. Most of the time it is over the other person not doing it the “right” way or in the expected timeline. By right way, it means not “their” way or “their” timeline.
As I’ve considered this conundrum, I realize it’s ingrained in our culture. No wonder it seems such a hard habit to break. The famous Burger King slogan, “Have it Your Way” has completely inundated every part of life, not just what we eat.
Much like my mom, I’ve enacted a saying in our household. Whenever my kids start their disagreements you will hear me respond, “Christianity starts at home.” It will continue with some version of the following questions, “Do you think Jesus is proud of how you are responding to your sibling?” “Would you treat people at church/work/class like you are treating each other now?” It’s normally met with a “no.” I then gently remind them of the gift we have of each other and how we talk to and treat each other is a training ground for how we will react outside of our home.
We are far from perfect, but the aim is to train up our household not to react the way the world expects us to. A little book found in the New Testament has great wisdom for us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
I think many kinds of trials include when we don’t get things our way, when life doesn’t turn out the way we think it should. When the person next to you seems to get everything right and you are still stuck spinning your wheels.
It’s hard to have joy when you get bent out of shape. Living in a way that produces joy in the midst of disagreements will turn heads. People will take notice of your lack of outrage and outbursts because it’s against the norm. The way we act and react to people can speak more about the love of Jesus then any sermon we could preach.
“Blessed are the flexible” may not be biblical beatitude, but it definitely can produce biblical attributes. I’m working daily on letting things go and becoming more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self controlled. Sound like a tall order? It absolutely is. But, the more I live under the power of the Holy Spirit and less under my own, I can trust the evidence of these fruits will be seen. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Lord, I pray that you would enlighten our hearts to discern what is important to hold onto and fight for and what things we could let go of to bring about more peace in our lives. May we be lead by your Spirit in all things. Amen.