So a couple of weeks ago a new word visited my mind, the word was malleable. This is not the first time new words are springing into my head and too often those words have not meant what I thought they meant; if you have read this blog for long enough you have seen the many spelling mistakes, blame them on these bouts of words being dropped into my head. So anywho, I have learned to google the words and just make sure they mean what I think they do. So malleable was googled. It means, ‘capable of being extended or shaped by hammering or by pressure from rollers. Adaptable or tractable: the malleable mind of a child.’ Eureka, that’s the word I have been looking for a while and I like it, it has an intelligent feel to it. Malleable. mal·le·a·ble
As I have meditated on the journey I have taken over the last one year, this word summarises one of the biggest lessons God has had to teach me. Malleable. Moldable; capable of being extended or shaped by hammering or by pressure; adaptable; the malleable mind of a child. I like the last definition, the malleable mind of a child, because it explains why I struggled with this. Malleability is normal to a child but as we grow up, we become less and less malleable. We become stuck in our ways. And the more self-aware we are, the more ‘unmalleable’ we are.
My ‘unmalleable’ self
My natural self is ‘unmalleable’; I know what works for me and I do not welcome anything or anyone who is playing around with what works for me. That I had prayed for God’s Purpose over my life for so long, made the moment when this became clear even more ‘unmalleable’. This was a gold-mine, and as with any other gold-mine, I wanted to hold onto it tightly.
And so when God begun to teach me to be malleable with the vision He had given me, you know I fought and threw kicks in the air. But He’s a patient Father so He patiently taught. I heard the word ‘let it go’ so often that I just finally gave in. If I knew this funky word ‘malleable’ then, it would have taken the place for letting go.
So what does being malleable mean? Does it mean you drop the vision God gives you? Does it mean you do not value it? I have found the best answer to this question to a video by Rev Kyula (you must watch it here, he shares how he struggled to convert ideas to action because of this).
Being malleable is being solid enough and yet fluid enough.
Solid V Fluid
Solid on what the big picture is. So for example, for me the big picture is and will always be developing others into their fullest potential. That big picture is unlikely to ever change even if I am placed in the tightest corner. When I look back I realise this big picture has always been around me even before Lapid Leaders. I was sharing in a forum the other day that when I started blogging, I used to have 5 – 10 readers but that did not stop me from blogging. For 2 people, I could share what God teaches me coz the goal is to have people live to their fullest potential. I served in many ministries and though I did not know then, what attracted me to those ministries is still what makes LLA a precious gift. The big picture was and still is solid.
Yet fluid enough to know that the big picture can be achieved in more ways than one. . I will give you an example, the initial vision of LLA was a pure leadership development program. Somewhere along the way God begun to speak about equipping the next generation to be Entrepreneurial Leaders. Haa? Entrepreneurship, really Lord? The one space I have never operated in is where you are sending me. Then like clockwork, He said malleable.
Paul knew this lesson of malleability. He says something that tags at my heart, ‘Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law… When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.’
I become all things….
I do everything to spread the Good News…In some versions, these words are translated into ‘I will become all things.” Paul knew the solid part was the vision to spread the Good News. That would never change. But for that he would become all things….all things!
I have learned this is the most important part, know the vision, the big picture. Then like Paul, say I will become all things that this vision may be accomplished! Paul says that even though I am free, I have become a slave to all people….This is the power of a clear, solid vision; and yet the only fluidness that can allow that vision to come to pass.
Unfortunately very few people are this solid and also this fluid. We are more often than not stuck in the ways that we think a vision should play out. I meet people who are sure God has called them to build African businesses, but they are unwilling to become all things that this vision may come to pass. I meet people who are stuck in being teachers in one space, but they are not open to become all things that the calling to teach may come to pass. I meet people who are so clear on the pretty vision, but would much rather sit in the seat of the prettiness of the vision.
Being malleable calls for sacrifices. Like Paul, you must be willing to be a slave, to be weak; for the sake of solid vision. As I have become malleable, I have done things that my pride would not have allowed me to before, because I am clear on the vision and I am malleable enough to pay the price.
I have learned that the greatest among us are people who know the vision and are solid enough with it that it will not be moved, but they are also malleable enough to be molded and do whatever it takes to achieve that goal
This one is the true meaning of malleable and it is the hardest part of any person who is pursuing God’s vision. We feel like it has to be one way, we get so hang up on the vision we have no space to be molded. But when you realise it is His vision, when you realise the big picture is safe, then you become malleable enough to be both solid and fluid.
My prayer has changed to let me be more malleable Lord that your will and purposes for this vision may come to pass. I will become all things….Malleable clay in the Hands of the Father