One Day at a Time
Flexibility. Sometimes this word is used to describe the ability to do amazing acrobatics, such as putting crossed legs behind your head, or licking your elbow, which is something that is supposedly impossible, but in reality, I’ve seen it done. Another definition for flexibility is having the quality of being willing to yield to something, such as giving into persuasion without putting up much of a fight. The most applicable definition, however, to the Wolf River Refuge, is none other than adaptability. This would mean, in layman’s terms, the ability to have a flexible schedule.
Throughout my life, I have always predominantly lived with a planner in my hand to mirror the planner tendency of my personality. I am generally a cautious person who likes to know what I am going to do so that I can fully complete it to the best of my ability, being the achiever that I am. When interviewing for the position as Intern at the Wolf River Refuge, I was asked if I was flexible. I did not really know what to say. I am proficient at managing my time well, and so that was my eventual response. Little did I know that I actually am a very flexible person. I don’t mean that I can put my crossed legs behind my head, because I definitely cannot. I mean, that, as the Intern at the WRR, I have been forced to be flexible, and so that is what I have become.
Steve Tice, the Director at the Wolf River Refuge, introduced to me, very early on, the idea of sequences, which has come into play nearly every single day at the WRR. Essentially, sequences are what happen when you have a set plan of what you are going to do on a certain day, you have everything in mind of what you are going to accomplish, projects are starting to be set into motion, when, suddenly, a more urgent task carries your attention to a totally different project that ends up taking a few hours to complete, when you can finally try to refocus on how you had originally intended to spend the day.
Sequences are what have forced me to be flexible. Either you can get really frustrated with how everything can change on a minute’s notice, or you can do what I have learned to, which is to just roll with things. I will show up to the Refuge with a tentative plan for the day, and Steve might walk up to me and start explaining that we really can’t work on what we had previously said we were going to do, because other circumstances arose. He will turn to me and we will both just say in unison, “Sequences.” This startled me the first few times it happened because I am used to planning everything in advance so that I can accomplish projects in a timely and efficient manner, but it now no longer phases me. I don’t even blink as I change direction and move towards whatever new goal or task has been set before me.
The project that has been set back the most is probably the most important one for the WRR, in the sense that the sooner it is completed, the better, for everyone, including our staff and our guests. We have been in the process of moving our office from the second floor of our facility to the basement, a task that we had intended to have completed weeks ago, but is still in progress. We could take time to be frustrated that it is not yet done, or we can continue to learn from what sequences are continually teaching us--patience and trust in the fact that God knows what our days are going to look like. We can plan out what we hope to do, but our Heavenly Father may have something else in store for us that there is no way to plan for, and that is okay.
James 4:13-15 states this:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
James, the brother of Jesus, seemed to understand the idea of sequences, because he writes in his letter to the Jewish Christians that were scattered after the death of Stephen, almost as if he were writing directly to us at the WRR. James sure had it right. He understood that our lives are fleeting. He also understood that we can talk all we want, and hash out the most brilliant plans for what we will do in the next year, next month, or week, or even in the next five minutes. But really, those plans can turn into steam like a drop of water thrown onto fire. The most beneficial thing we can do is bring our plans, thoughts, requests, and everything else to the Lord, and seek His counsel before we try in vain to keep everything under our control.
Will you continue to try to force everything to go your way and fit into your plan, and thus be disappointed or frustrated when it doesn’t work out, or will you surrender your plans to the Lord and follow where His sequences take you, one day, hour, or second at a time?