It terms of flexibility are you more like Gumby or does C-3PO seem more like it? I should clarify that I am not referring to physical flexibility but rather to mental and emotional flexibility. So in that context, would it be Gumby or C-3PO? Now I am about to confuse y’all because I am referring to the physical flexibility of both Gumby and the lack of flexibility of C-3PO to illustrate the mental and emotional status of human flexibility (what???). Let’s break it down.
Gumby: If you are familiar with the character he had the ability to bend and move in whatever direction was needed (at least that is my recollection; in truth it’s probably been 25-30 years since I saw anything with Gumby so my memory might be manufactured… but you get the point). If you are more like Gumby you are able to go with the flow, accept change more easily, not get so stuck in your ways and your desires. You are okay with not knowing every detail. Even if you know every detail and have a plan, you are able to change things up in the moment. And, in those moments you can remain at peace and be okay with someone else’s plan or direction. Basically you are not a slave to yourself, your thoughts, your ideas, your plans. You can let it go (cue Frozen’s Let It Go…).
C-3PO: He is a robot, a very smart and funny robot from Star Wars (believe it or not there are poor souls on this planet who are not familiar with Star Wars. How is that possible???). He is programmed to operate one way and usually it is a well-thought out way. His feathers get ruffled (or his metal gets tarnished) when the way is changed or isn’t immediately logical. Or worse yet, it disagrees with his programming. Being flexible is not in his wiring. If you are more like C-3PO then change in the moment usually doesn’t go so well. In fact, you are likely to get defensive or feel dejected because you think your plan, your way is being completely disregarded. You don’t understand why there is need for change or flexibility in the first place. You’ve worked it all out – no need to go a different direction or to modify the plan. In fact the phrase “going with the flow” is something you cannot compute.
From a human perspective how practical is it to live full-time like Gumby or full-time like C-3PO? It’s not. Neither are completely balanced. But here is what I do know, the Gumby-like folks certainly have a more peaceful existence than the C-3PO human drones. How do I know this? Because, sadly, I am a C-3PO human drone. Being flexible is something I lack in massive amounts, and trust me when I say that it causes me a lot of heartache and sometimes tears. In fact I was studying my Myers-Briggs profile when I came across this statement,“Another problem that you are likely to face is your relative inflexibility.” No kidding! (If you are interested in taking the test to discover your personality profile, check this out.) Oh, and how can I forget that just two weeks ago in a head therapy session (everything I do is therapy of some kind… hair therapy, nail therapy, etc.) I was told that I need to be more flexible with MYSELF. Ouch. But true.
Permit me to give an example of Gumby (my fiancé) vs. C-3PO (me) in action (and yes I got permission before posting!).
Last Saturday the morning plan was to get up at 7:30am and hit the gym. At about 6:30am Ken came to me and called an audible (that’s a football term for making a change in a play) suggesting we let our bodies rest (cause we killed ourselves at the gym the day before). Cool beans. I can definitely be flexible with this suggestion (who wants to go to the gym at 7:30am anyway?). The back up plan was let Megan sleep until 8:30am. I asked Ken to wake me up at 8:30am to have breakfast. We planned on our favorite bagels and he was happy to go pick them up. Perfect. I was going with the flow (for once).
I wake up at 8:45am. Okay, slightly alarmed that I wasn’t woken up at 8:30am and Ken was no where to be found. Stress sets in because I need to be done eating by 9am-ish so I can shower and be ready to go by 11:30am (now’s not the time to dissect my getting ready routine…). So now I am going to have to rush. Ken finally walks in the door at 9:15am. Now I am 45 minutes behind MY schedule and of course I have to bring that to light. I wasn’t rude, but I was clear. Ken said that he left later and decided to let me sleep. He’ll run his errand (which is why we needed to leave at 11:30am) and then come back and get me at 12:15pm (our original departure time). You would think I would be full of gratitude that he was being flexible with me and considerate. Uh, no. Instead I allowed my metal to get tarnished and was hung up on my timeline – the very timeline we agreed upon. He made changes to the plan and didn’t inform me until 45 minutes AFTER I had a chance to get riled up.
The funny thing is in the end we both were done with getting ready/chores complete by 12pm, managed to still run the errand, and get to our destination by 1:05pm (which was supposed to be 1pm). It all worked out. Ken moved through it all pretty peacefully and Megan not so much. In fact we probably would have been done earlier if we didn’t have to “discuss the whys” in the plan change.
See I care, a lot, about what other people think and honoring time commitments. That matters to me and for that reason I find it a very hard to be flexible. Ken, on the other hand, believes in time commitments but is okay if he is a few minutes behind. For him it’s not as big of a deal and he doesn’t worry about what others will think of him. Oh how I envy that quality. I am not saying Ken is always right in his flexibility, but I am also not saying that I am right in my inflexibility.
This is just one of many examples of me operating as C-3PO, and Ken almost always as Gumby. I’ll be honest, it is a point of tension in our relationship. We each have to compromise, but in truth the problem most of the time is my lack of flexibility. I can be so darn ridged (some might say stubborn) and it really only causes me consternation (and heartburn for others who are on the receiving end of my lack of flexibility).
When it comes down to it…it’s a control issue. I want to be in control. Being inflexible is 100% about being in control. No bones about it. Sigh.
Here is what I know, God put the word “surrender” on my heart in September 2013 and He is still bringing that word into focus nearly 2.5 years later. What I need to surrender has changed, but I do know that since August 2014 the surrender has been in the area of control. And today, it became clear that my C-3PO nature is just another demonstration of Megan trying to be in control…of everything. That is not HIS plan. Never has been, never will be.
I used to sing Twila Paris’ song God Is In Control. Perhaps I should do more than just sing it and make that my inflexible plan. Now to find my inner Gumby…