S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d and Ready!

This is Part II of a series!

There is nothing like a good stretch that gets the blood flowing. Physical stretching is important. And, as often is the case, the things of the physical world can help us make a connection to the spiritual realm.

We don’t know the twists and turns that are ahead of us — spiritually or physically — but, if we are a bit primed, we can weather them better.

Are you feeling out of shape? Starting with a marathon isn’t the recommended course of action. Building up stamina and strength, day by day, is the way to go. Unfortunately, that is not my general bent. I don’t like doing a little bit of something every day, I like to dive in and really focus. That is great for deep projects but it is terrible for those things that require a daily diligence.

Understanding my personal rhythm will give me the best chance at success. What are the things I can work on in large chunks of time? And what are the “dailies”? When it comes to faith and spiritual growth, there is a daily need to connect with my Creator. For me, it is a pretty consistent awareness of His presence in and through my day. It might not be formal, but I am not that kind of person anyway. But I also benefit from a longer, more in-depth time. A weekend retreat or several intensive Bible studies in a year.

Do you like to do tasks a little at a time? Or do you like to dig deep for extended periods of time? Does it change depending on the task?

I love that we were all created uniquely! Thank you, God!

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

Here is Part I: S-t-r-e-t-c-h

S-t-r-e-t-c-h!

If I haven’t done the work, I won’t be ready.

Don’t worry, I don’t think my salvation depends on the things I do. It absolutely does not. But, since I am in a relationship with God, communication is important. Stepping out in faith is a part of the package and sometimes it is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

Stretching helps me be ready for what is next.

Recently, I tried to do something I have done many times before. This time, however, it took a lot more effort than I care to admit. What happened in the time between when I last did this activity and now? Plenty of nothing.

And just like that, I wasn’t ready for what I wanted to do.

It was discouraging and maddening. And a not-so-gentle reminder of how abilities can disintegrate when not used on a regular basis. It feels like I am starting over.

Of course, life is about starting over — a lot!

And it seems like faith works the same way. I have my core faith. My baptism promise. My confidence in God’s ongoing work in my heart and life. And when I abide in Him, my roots stretch and grow. When I don’t, I can’t expect to have a rich relationship. God always meets me where I am and patiently waits for me. But life will always put demands on me. I would much rather be stretched and molded into God’s perspective so I can choose to respond in a Godly way to the circumstances around me. I want to be sensitive to His guidance and leading and ready to do the next thing. If I always have to stop and start from square one, I won’t be in spiritual shape for what is next.

Naturally, God is there, ready for me. It doesn’t matter if I am two steps forward or ten steps behind. My story is His-story so He uses all of it and redeems it all.

His love brings about my response. Allowing Him to grow my faith and trust is a part of the process!

Even though Paul wrote this to the Thessalonians, it reminds us that growing in faith increases or capacity for other things.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV

God’s blessings on your week!
Liz