Be willing to bend and stretch with life

By Shanta Crichlow


There’s nothing like a good deep stretch to loosen and relax an athlete’s stiff sore muscles. She might start with a light jog to warm the body. Then, go into a combination of deep static and ballistic stretches feeling her muscles slightly pull as they loosen. Flexibility is a key component to athletic performance.

Free movement of the body is essential for practice, competition, even the times in-between. When an athlete’s muscles are loose, the risk of injury is minimized. Flexible muscles can bend and move. They can handle more strain, faster movement, sudden change and higher intensity.

Flexibility extends beyond the athlete’s physical body. Players have to adjust to various coaching styles throughout the course of their career. They need flexibility when asked to make adjustments in the middle of a game, change a play, strategy, approach, even step up and play a different position or compete in a different event if necessary. Changes may be needed to accommodate an increase in speed and adrenaline or gain the upper hand on an opponent. Even if a stellar athlete has always seen herself in one role her entire life, she answers the call to step up and adjust for the benefit of the program. Versatile athletes are extremely valuable to a team

Achieving flexibility requires stretching. Stretching is good. It prepares the athlete’s body for the hard work ahead, but it can also be a pain. Stretching requires additional time before and after the workout. It can hurt a little to extend your body beyond its resting limits. You have to be willing to yield to that pain and allow it to hurt as you release the unwanted toxic build up in your body. When the stiffness is gone and the muscles are a little limber, it feels amazing. It changes you.

As important as flexibility is, overflexiblity is a real risk and can make an athlete as susceptible to injury as not being flexible at all. Excessive flexibility (according to an article published by MIT) results in less support for the joints and can therefore cause an individual to be unstable.

Beyond Athletics

Flexibility is equally important in life Beyond Athletics. We’re forced to make adjustments in work, business and life. Choosing to be flexible and able to bend allows us to not only maintain our sanity but to progress in that space. We find the need to be flexible Beyond Athletics with our plan, careers, businesses, relationships all the while being mindful not to become over-flexible.

The Bible directs us to be bendable to the will of God. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart,” it says in Proverbs 19:21, “but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” The Bible doesn’t say that we should not make plans, but it infers that our plans and expectations should yield to God’s process. I suggest we even invite the Holy Spirit to be an equal contributor to our daily planning.

Let’s not hold so tight to our hopes, plans, expectations, desires, ideals, or visions that we can’t adapt to God’s direction. This includes perceptions of ourselves and who we think we are (or should be). Adaptation is not a burden; it’s a technique to keep us in the game. We must be open to learning new things, have the courage to call the audible and pivot toward something greater.

The year 2020, if nothing else, has taught us the value of this principle. For those who are resistant to the cascading adjustments, it’s especially hard. If at some point one is able to accept what is, find something to grateful for and do what was necessary to move with the reality of the time (even if it’s not ideal), she could see God at work in the midst.

But this nugget serves us beyond a global pandemic and even cross-cultural relations. Businesses always have the challenge of adjusting to stay relevant in ever-changing markets. How many times have you felt your life moving in one direction when everything changes? Perhaps your company was bought out, or you fell under new leadership. Perhaps you’ve been called on to play a different position. How do you feel about learning something new to keep pace with the direction your company is going?

We plan pathways to our goals only to have them altered by circumstances beyond our control. Your initial direction may or may not have been preferable, but are you flexible enough in mind and attitude to make the switch without causing injury to yourself? Panic is the inflexible response in those situations. Trust, however, is the response of a flexible person.

What about in your personal life? That person you were “supposed” to end up with, that house or position that was “supposed” to be yours. Inflexibility can cause pain to yourself as well as the people you love.

Relationships require a certain degree of compromise. This includes all relationships:  romantic, platonic, professional, cordial, parental, passersby, and so on. We need to be flexible enough in every relationship to accept and embrace people for who they are. Then, we can love them with patience and kindness (1 Co 13:4-8); we can consider others better than ourselves (Ph 2:3); we can have the mind of Christ when it comes to our relationships  (Ph 2:5-7). If, however, we are constantly trying to force others into the image we want them to be rather than allowing God to shape them as He wants them to be, injury is inevitable for all involved.

It benefits us to bend a little in the right direction. Proper flexibility does not mean that we compromise our standards, values, wellbeing or Word of God. One can be willing to make minor adjustments, be flexible with her opinions and accommodate important relationships without losing herself in the process. Simply keep an open mind and heart.

Flexibility is not only reactive but also proactive, and it doesn’t happen on its own. Athletes take extra time before and after practice to stretch. It’s not so easy either. Athletes have to lean into the pain of a stretch; they have to apply that pain to relieve the pain of soreness. As we grow and change over time. We’re always finding new ways to learn and teach ourselves and future generations.

We are made to evolve and grow – to move from glory to glory. Not only is life and the world around us continually changing, but so are we. We cannot afford to be the same person stuck in familiar ways week after week. We must be willing to adapt and move with God in the flow of life. Flexibility minimizes injury.
    1. What areas in your life are demanding flexibility?

    2. What perspective or truth can help you develop enough trust to be flexible?
Leave your comments below and continue this journey with me. We’ll harness insight from the sports we know, love, and play and implement them in life beyond athletics. We’re all still going pro even if it’s not in our sport.
Flexibility Minimizes Injury

The Spiritual Connection

See how this principle also applies to our spiritual life Beyond Athletics. Visit the devotion on my site



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