Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing [I do], forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Plants thrive in light. They need it for the photosynthesis process to turn carbon dioxide into food. But did you know most plants need the challenge of darkness in order for them to bloom.
Similar to most plants, God designed us in a way that we need the stimulation of new challenges in order to grow. We must allow ourselves to be stretched. Being stretched physically, mentally, spiritually and is necessary if we desire to stay productive and vibrant.
Why You Need To Be Stretched
Our muscles need to be stretched. After long periods of inactivity, the blood that flows through them gets constricted in the capillaries. That means both the necessary oxygen needed for proper function and the unnecessary waste in the cardio vascular system becomes stagnated and can’t move to a productive place. We can draw a mental and spiritual parallel from our physical need to stretch.
If you are not stretched mentally and spiritually then the flow of life gets hindered. The substances needed to experience abundant life gets constricted in your soul. Mentally, things such as creativity, new skills and fresh perspectives that once flowed freely, have now become congealed. Spiritually, God’s flow of revelation that takes us from glory to glory and faith to faith gets reduced down to a powerless tradition.
Not allowing yourself to be stretched allows stagnation to set in. Stale thought patterns and old habits that resist change can freeze you in a time warp as the rest of the world passes you by. You need to be STRETCHED!
Principles of Stretching
In the athletic community has several guidelines to maximize the power of stretching before they engage in their sport. Here are 5 principles we can extract from them.
1. Stretching Reduces Injury.
People who allow themselves to be stretched often are better equipped to handle the unexpected stressors of life. They are more flexible to move with the physical, emotional, and mental demands that unfavorable circumstances present. As a result, they reduce the chances of damaging their relationships, health, and spiritual well-being.
2. Stretching Entails Discomfort.
Stretching requires a departure form our comfort zone. Our comfort zone is a breeding ground for stagnation, so God will occasionally require you to stretch. He will not ask you to stretch farther than you can. However, He will have you stretch as far as you can. He will place answers to problems just outside of your skillset, provision for dreams just above your pay grade, or connections with the right people that just don’t fit into your schedule. All these situations force us to move past our comfort zone in order to move in His will.
3. Never Stretch A Cold Muscle.
Stretching a cold muscle increases the chance of injury so you should warm up before you stretch. Likewise, before you stretch to embrace new challenges, you should first warm up to them by counting up the cost. Taking on new challenges without first counting up the cost will increase your chances of failure. Jesus encourages us that before we engage in new endeavors to count up the cost first (Luke 14:28). If possible research what it is going to cost you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Will your relationships suffer? If so, for how long? How much time, money, & pain will I have to sacrifice? Count up the cost!
4. Don’t Bounce.
Bouncing during your stretch is not good for the muscle as it can cause microtrauma. When this occurs it leaves scar tissue on your muscles that reduce flexibility in the long run. Likewise, when you begin to stretch forth to new challenges only to bounce back and quit, it scars your soul. Every time you quit it leaves a mark in your memory that makes it easier to quit the next time you depart from your comfort zone. In the long run – you reduce your ability to embrace new challenges.
5. The Urge To Stretch Comes Naturally; Don’t Fight It!
Yawning is a form of stretching. It is the body’s natural urge to expand the lungs so that it can allow a greater capacity of oxygen to flow. Your body has a natural urge to yawn both in the evening to signify it’s tired, and in the morning to prepare for the new day. Mentally, the urge to stretch is communicated through boredom. Spiritually it is communicated through restlessness.
Consistent boredom is your minds cry for stimulation. It hungers for exposure, new ideas and challenges. Don’t fight it, feed it.
A restless spirit is your hearts cry to go deeper in God’s supernatural flow. It is a yearning for revelation of God and His Word that only the Holy Spirit can soothe. Don’t fight it, receive it!
Inventory the areas in your life that has become stagnate. What things bore you? What areas of life that when you think about them you get restless? If you look within they will become evident. Once you identify them, seek opportunities and then prepare to be STRETCHED!
I’m Andrew Freed and you are an Overcomer In Christ!