I Know I’m Not

It’s one of my weaknesses: I know I struggle with flexibility!

I suppose in my childhood and teen years I could flex with the best of them. As adulthood, parenthood, and responsibilities filled my plate, I became the quintessential planner.

Perhaps college and nursing school were my launching pad into adult responsibilities and planning. I began keeping calendars and lists. If I didn’t chart out when papers and care plans were due and tests were happening, I would not be fully prepared and certainly couldn’t expect to do my best. When clinicals began, there was the added knowledge that people’s lives rested in my care. Which continued and grew in parenthood.

My calendar was “my brain” as my friend put it. If it wasn’t on there, it didn’t get done or happen. Life was full, and I took my responsibilities seriously. I had tons of fun …spontaneity, not my forte.

I know it, I’ve admitted it and worked on it. My husband, on the other hand, is Mr. Spontaneous. So, there ya go… balance.

Even though I’ve recognized it and tried to build up my weakness, I still notice it.

Believe me, in my years, I’ve been stretched and stretched. I have a few children with “Spontaneity genes” too😉 Spontaneity and flexibility are travel companions. One causes the other. And often it meant, in my “calendar life”, something had to give: time, energy, or space.The old “I’m only one person” adage comes to mind. Also, flexibility has “things don’t have to be perfect” component because there is no time to plan and execute… it’s a “now” proposition.

In my mind I like spontaneous, it’s just not as easy for me to add unplanned things into my day. Or to change on a dime what was planned. I likely spent time and effort considering and planning what I calendared. Also, I like to plan margins to facilitate a better chance of success. Over planning and over committing have proven difficult and ultra demanding. I’d say I “have learned my limits!” Defined as “boundaries” in some circles. I know how I function best and would like to function at my best as much as possible.

Last week, a flexibility challenge came my way.

I awoke Sunday morning, 7 am, to my husband standing over me. (He’d been up for hours.) I immediately said, “I set my alarm,” thinking he was coming in to wake me up.

“We have a problem!” He said.

Of course, my mind reeled with a million possibilities, none of which I wanted to hear!

Our worship leader was sick at church.
“Can you do something?”

Oh boy, I know I’ve mentioned, I wake up fuzzy and have to claw my way to clarity and morning. Sunday mornings are early for my personal time clock, anyway. I had to think!! Quickly!!

He mentioned a few scenarios, none of which sounded doable with any degree of success.

“Just let me think!” I muttered a few times.

Here’s the thing, I have sung on stages since I was a young girl. I like to be prepared. On the fly… is hard! I don’t play an instrument to accompany myself. Along with our worship leader, sickness meant most of the planned accompaniment was out. I had practiced the songs, but not like I was leading. Practicing to lead is way different from practicing to sing in an ensemble. And I had no instrumental accompaniment.

Aside: I’ve heard “use music tracts” as an emergency solution to live music. In case you wanted to know, there are multiple tracts made to many worship songs with their own individual versions. I have led using tracks before when I practice, but here is the problem “on the fly”…. If I haven’t practiced with the tracts recently, the likelihood of messing up is huge. Every tract has its own nuances, introductions, interludes, chorus repetitions, etc.!
We didn’t practice using tracts for this day, we were using live guitars. I didn’t have time Sunday morning to learn 4 tracts before 10:15 am.

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I also didn’t want to stress out any last-minute musician; a few of our key musicians were out of town.

My flexibility was being challenged!! Let’s flex that muscle!
It might not be comfortable or optimum, but “let’s roll”!

I eventually responded with, “I’ll figure something out! Tell the tech team I’ll meet them at 8:45am!”

I got up and started getting ready with a cup of coffee, hoping my brain would turn on and produce.

By the time I got to 8:45 am, I had a simple plan. The tech team helped me pull it off with slides of lyrics. We sang 4 acappella hymns to worship that Sunday. I used my built in instrument (my voice) to lead familiar songs to raise our corporate voices in praise.

The unplanned morning flexed my weakness using one of my strengths. I’ve always relied on my voice to work musically. Musicality has been a strength of mine since the early years. It flows naturally and feels comfortably familiar to me, always.

I summoned spontaneity and flexibility to reach the goal line that morning. I again got to practice strengthening a weakness. Stretching is good in physicality and in practicality.

Plans don’t always work. Things happen. Second and third options come into play… and they just might include you: Mister, over-here-minding-my-own-business.

Have you exercised one of your weaker traits lately?

None of us are great at everything!

How did it go?

Exercise strengthens us, but we have to take part. I do not want to grow rigid, inflexible and unwilling to change as I age! It may not always feel comfortable, but I’ll risk comfort for growth.


2 thoughts on “I Know I’m Not

  1. Aww Elaine _ I have seen and heard you lots of times get up and sing on a moments notice and you always came through – You might think it’s a weakness but my dear you have a strength with music!! God has blessed you!
    love ya!

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