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Learning to Be Flexible

family mental health productivity work Jan 20, 2024

4 minute read
By Bethany Rees

I’m what you call an early adopter, or someone who is easily excitable about new possibilities.

Seriously, I love new opportunities and don’t mind trying new things. 

I have a wild imagination and can “see” how great the new thing or experience is going to be. Feel free to go ahead and call me a visionary.

But there’s a flipside to my coin...

From my imagination, I plan out how I believe the thing or experience is going to feel, and what it is going to do to make my life better. 

However, reality doesn’t always follow my plan or the expectations in my head.

In my twenties, when my experience in reality didn’t match what my expectations were, I became let down, upset, even miserable. Those feelings even occasionally led to what’s known as “buyer’s remorse,” or regret for buying into something. 

Over and over again I have lived this cycle: Excitement, Expectation, Reality, and Remorse.

The truth is that I wasn’t flexible in living in or through what was in front of me. Instead I fought to have my plan implemented and my expectations met. 

This cycle of emotions has played out in marriage (from first year excitement of "I can't believe we're married" to the second year thought “What have we done?”).

It has played out in my jobs (“this is going to be the best job ever”….until it’s not).

It has played out in my parenting (“my kids would never do that”... until they do that). 

What I’ve learned over the years is that getting from point A to point B is never a straight line.

It always has ups, downs, twists, and turns. But I’ve also learned that most of the stress and angst I feel is developed from the gap between what I expected to happen and what actually happened. 

The STRESS and ANGST we feel comes from the GAP BETWEEN what we EXPECT and the REALITY we actually live out.

Having the Holy Spirit reveal my usual cycle, as well as why I tend to feel stressed when things don’t go the way I’ve planned, has really allowed me to take a spiritual “chill pill” in order to be more flexible.

It’s not that I no longer have high expectations (I do), but the expectations are no longer based on a feeling I’ll develop as a result of an experience. 

My expectations are more focused on what is most essential; things like:

  • quality time is had, 
  • lessons are learned, 
  • kids are fed, 
  • family is safe, 
  • truths are shared/heard. 

In other words, my expectations focus more on the WHY of the experience, and there is now a lot of flexibility in the “WHAT is done” and HOW it’s done.”. 

As leadership guru John Maxwell says: 

“Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about vision, but flexible with your plan.” 

So the next time you plan a family function, work project, important conversation, etc. develop and focus on your WHY (vision), but be very flexible with your HOW and WHAT (the plan). By doing so you’ll notice that your stress and angst will shrink because the gap between your expectation and your reality is shrinking.  

Know Better. Do Better. Live Better. Be Flexible.

Rocks before Sand!


“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

~ 1 Corinthians 9: 22b-23

Theme Song: 

Incredibles Song | FLEXIBLE | Elastigirl In Real Life (Whitney Avalon & Brendan Milburn)

References Used:

  • The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
  • Quote by John C. Maxwell: Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don't change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.", 2021. June 2022.

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