Flexibility, the Healthy Choice
CBN.com - Flexibility has been around forever, but you probably never noticed it because you have been so set in your ways that you simply didn’t have time to sit down and get acquainted.
Oh, it seems just like yesterday when flexibility and I ran into each other for the first time. Actually, it was a day like every other day. I had at least twelve different things that needed to be accomplished: bills, laundry, grocery shopping, one-on-one time with each of my wonderful children, snuggle time with my hubby, getting the dogs to the groomers, scrubbing floors, Bible Study, quiet time, catching up with family and friends via snail mail or e-mail, watering plants, planning for the radio show, writing articles for my columns, and scheduling speaking engagements. Does this sound familiar?
It seems many of us are too busy at work, too busy making a living, too busy making ends meet, too busy combating corporate crisis, too busy searching the top selling self-help books on “How to Make Your Busy House a Home”, and too busy doing good things.
Face it; we have fallen into the world’s concept of success and freedom. Everything around the house has become trappings of our success: the expensive vase from China, the 54” HD-TV, the new car in the driveway, clothes or enough shoes to line the halls of your sanctuary at church. Still, we are not “happy” or “healthy”.
The “trappings” are exactly that - traps we have allowed ourselves to fall into. We spend time and energy on things that keep us BUSY (being under Satan’s yoke), in debt, and unhappy. Now is the time. We must take back our family and our time and give back to Caesar what is his!
Time… there are only 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. Time is a commodity that no one can buy more of. We certainly would if we could, but alas we can’t, so we need to be careful how it is spent.
But what’s a busy person to do? Outside of pulling out our hair, hiding in the closet, going shopping for hours on end, or just sitting and doing nothing, we have to take flexibility by its word and embrace it!
Something has to give, and that something has to be us. When I mentioned I had prioritized my “stuff,” I was being truthful; I placed everything in its proper place according to my desires and my recognition of importance. Isn’t that what we all do, sit down and rationalize how our time is spent? Well, if we don’t embrace flexibility soon, time will run right over us. We need to see how our plans measure up to God’s guidelines for time management.
Make a time pie chart and in the wedges write God, Family, Work, Sleep, and Other. The pie represents a 24-hour weekday; divide the pie into the time you have currently allocated to each category. Let’s look at the slice designated for Work; if you work every day from 8-5, that’s nine hours, but you need to add in the time it takes for you to get ready, roughly an hour or so. Then add the time to and from work – 30 minutes each way. Unless lunch is used for something other than eating, it falls in the work category – one hour. Any time spent at home on the phone dealing with work-related items, add 30 minutes. You get the picture. Add them together and it’s roughly 11.5 to 12 hours. Not much left out of 24 hours, is there? Here’s the scary part: if you own your business, it’s going to be more hours than that.
Add in the slice for Sleep. Recommended for the average adult is seven to nine hours. This brings the total to about 20 hours. Next we look at God – your quiet time. Is yours in the morning, at night, or not at all? Family is important, so we need to squeeze them in somewhere so everyone feels taken care of. And finally the big O – Other! Ah… the ease of “other.” This would be grocery shopping, working out, cooking, driving kids to school, attending school functions, eating, nails, hair, hunting (I had to throw that one in there). I know what you’re thinking – stop the bus and let me off! Guess what? It’s almost that easy. Now, slow down and don’t get ahead of me.
Stepping back into our pie, I want you to recognize which ingredients have flexible variables. WORK: If you work for someone else, you would agree your time portion is not very flexible. Or is it? If you are a student, working mom, or dad in a two-parent home and you would like more time spent with your friends and family, why not ask your employer for “flex” hours? This is a new concept that more and more companies are offering their “valuable” employees. With “flex” hours, your shift can alternate during the week. You wouldn’t always work a 9-5; it could be a 7-4 or even a split day. You could offer to work on “your stuff” after hours. Maybe you can bring home some of your work. (Be careful here; you need to be very organized for this to work.) Offering a “flexible” plan to your employer might be the answer.
For single parents, it gets tougher. Organization is key, and as you have already guessed, your pie portions don’t have much “cutting back” room. You could look at combining some of your time wedges. Instead of leaving the kids at home with the oldest sibling when you go grocery shopping, take them with you and make it a family outing. Incorporate your child’s math skills or science concepts.
I realize this sounds like a lot of work, and it would be much, much, much easier going on your own and getting it done and over with. But when do you fit in the “quality” time with your kids? Believe me, as a mother of four, I have been on the receiving end of “I just want to be with you!” enough times to truly believe it. Our children want to be with us, so we need to make room for them when and wherever possible. Besides, life is a learning opportunity, so teach them as they grow, in everything you do. Being flexible is just that: you take what you normally do and change it up to meet the “priority needs” of the day.
I could keep breaking this down, but I think you get the picture. When we really look at where and how our time is spent, what we get caught up in, and who is setting our priorities, we get a clearer look at what needs to flex up. Every piece of the time pie can be flexible depending on the day, the week, our deadlines, and our timelines. If we try to do everything, every day, looking to please everyone in everyway, we are going to explode. That wouldn’t be pretty.
“Be still and know I am God.” Do you know that He is God? I recommend a flexible day-to-day routine, but if every day does not include some time spent with God developing a relationship with Jesus, then none of it matters. Without the coaching of the Holy Spirit, I cannot make it through one day. Everything else will fall into place as long as you take your lead from the One who holds it all in His hand.
Enjoy your “pie”. Just remember to include your time with God as an appetizer or dessert. I take small bites through out the day - He’s quite filling!
Before beginning any new fitness program that requires a change in diet or exercise, it is recommended that you consult your physician for input. This informational series is not intended for medical or nutritional claims dependent on substantial clinical studies and FDA approval, and should not be construed as a claim for cure, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It is intended solely for information and educational purposes. Linda is not a physician or expert in the medical field. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for numerous years. The information given in these sessions have been derived from books and materials brought together over the years from many sources, including her personal life experiences.