Living “Intentionally but Flexibly”

Old Year is rapidly fusing with New and I am reminded of a letter we received some time ago from acquaintances who were living in Amman, Jordan.  They had lived in the Middle East for a long time and they talked about the conflicts they experienced with their personality differences ~

she spontaneous, he a planner.

They recalled the many negotiations they had to make through the years and how that related to their  cross-cultural living, blending American and Jordanian cultural norms and attitudes.   The parallel between their marriage and  cross-cultural negotiations and the words they used of learning to live ‘flexibly but intentionally’ resonated with me.  With purpose and goals, but always willing to bend those for the sake of people coming into their lives and unexpected circumstances demanding adjustment, flexibility and of course, time.  An amazing mix of East, where people and relationships are paramount and West, where goals and ideas yield some quite amazing results?  I think so.

It sounds like a balanced way to live.  Too often I have lived just spontaneously and then move into auto-correct by embracing a rigid way of life that demands control and order.   What I want is a balance of flexibility and intentionality.  The “how-to’s” of achieving this is the challenge.   Life with it’s endless distractions and choices often interferes with my spontaneity and goals, making for a chaotic existence.

Os Guiness who’s writing I deeply admire says in his book “The Call” that the key is having a calling.  He of course goes into this with much depth and clear word-pictures, some of which is captured in this phrase:

“…calling provides the story line for our lives and thus a sense of continuity and coherence in the midst of a fragmented and confusing modern world.”

And perhaps therein is my “how to” of living intentionally and flexibly.

4 thoughts on “Living “Intentionally but Flexibly”

  1. Dear Marilyn,
    How many times Betsy and I have talked about the three of us somehow meeting together!!! I have loved hearing about you and your family over the years.
    Thank you for your Pakistan postings! You are a wonderful writer. I have long envied those with medical training who have a ‘gift’ that is so easily translated into an instant, life-changing commodity for the poor. Even at the age of 58, I wonder about getting some medical training so that I can give more tangible help when it’s needed. Thank you for serving in ways that many of us can’t.
    And thank you for your obedience to God’s call on your life.
    Blessings, Anne


    1. Anne – so wonderful to hear from you and thank you for reading! I was just with Betsy this weekend. We had so much to catch up on – so good to see her. I would LOVE to see you!
      Thanks again for the comment – will be doing a few more postings on Pakistan.


  2. Thank you so much for a wonderful post…so inspiring and a great way to have started my day! Your blog has been bookmarked on my computer!
    Andrew and I so enjoyed meeting you and your husband! I must have been starved for a great discussion because I have hardly been able to wait for this coming Sunday’s “class”!
    Many blessings,
    Katheryn N.


    1. Great to hear from you Katheryn and honored that you bookmarked the blog. It was great to meet you as well – we’ve really enjoyed the discussion and varying points of view that are expressed in the class. More in a private email!


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