On the Importance of Stretching

  

Stretching… It’s one of those things that all athletes know we should do, but it’s often skipped or overlooked when we’re short on training time.  I know that I, for one, usually have to force myself to stretch after a run or hard workout.  And yet, as I sit here sore today, I know that I need to spend some time stretching this afternoon so that I can comfortably get up and down my stairs!

Physical stretching is important because it helps us increase the range of motion in our joints, which decreases the chance of injury.  It also increases blood flow to muscles so that they can heal quicker.  But sometimes stretching is uncomfortable while you’re doing it, isn’t it?

Guess what – spiritual stretching is important, too! All through scripture, we see God calling people to step out of their comfort zones and allow Him to stretch and grow them.  We see God say, “This might make you uncomfortable at first, but TRUST ME – I’ve got this,” to Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Isaiah, the apostles, and many others in scripture.  And every time, when they let go of their objections and agree to trust, they see God work.

Can you think of a time when God was trying to stretch you?  I know that for me, He has called me to teach during  the council time of our AWANA program.  As I prayed about this and realized that this was His will, it scared the crap out of me.  I have been teaching women’s studies for the past 5 years or so.  Grown ups.  Not kids.  Don’t get me wrong – I love kids, I love hanging with the kids, but teaching kids?!  Getting in front of a group of kids and communicating a Bible story and hoping that they get something out of it?  I was pretty sure that God had the wrong gal for the job – and some days I still think that!  But I trusted in God’s promise that His grace would be sufficient and that His power is greater than my weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9). So I let Him stretch me.  Is it uncomfortable at times?  You bet!  But He is growing me in my relationship with Him – I am seeing these accounts with fresh eyes as I figure out how to present them to an audience that is way outside of my comfort zone.

How is God trying to stretch you today? Are you willing to let go of your objections and trust Him? My prayer for you today is that you will!

(If you’re looking for a great resource for Bible lessons for kids, check out my friend Anne Marie’s blog at futureflyingsaucers.com)

What are you training for?

wintherace

“So, what are you training for?”

This is a question that I’ve heard a lot over the last couple of days. It’s a small community. When you run past people’s houses multiple times a day, multiple times a week, they notice. And if they know you, they wonder what you’re up to. So this question has really gotten me thinking over the weekend…

What AM I training for? My answer has typically been, “well, I’m hoping to run the base-to-base run this spring.” That makes sense to people – I have a goal in mind that I’m working toward. And it’s true, but that race isn’t my end goal.

So, why do I run until I’m drenched with sweat? Or why do I lift so heavy that my muscles are so sore the next day that it hurts to sit? Why to I push my body like this when I know I’ll never be the fastest runner or the strongest competitor? The real answer is “I’m training for life.” Life is tough. It’s crazy. It’s not a sprint or a marathon – it’s one big interval run. Sometimes we’re pushing so hard we don’t know how much longer we can go. Sometimes we’re running along at a good pace and feeling great. Sometimes we have to slow down and recover. But no matter what part of the race we’re in, it’s important to be physically ready. When I workout, I’m a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, & a better Christ-follower because I know that I can do my best at whatever it is that He is calling me to do. I’m called to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)… I think that so often we worry about the first three and forget about the fourth.

So, what am I training for? I’m training to run the race in such a way as to win the prize. And the race is life.