Don’t Skip the Stretch!

I’ve been on a fitness journey. Some either during the height of the pandemic, gained or lost weight. I lose, however, as I settled back into a “we outside” routine, I noticed the clothes I loved the most betrayed me. About half of my timeline were enrolled in a program called, “E2M.” I joined about nine weeks ago and have reaped the benefits thus far. One paramount reality I’ve settled into is that I can no longer afford to “skip the stretch.” Allow me the grace to explain. I’ve been physically active my entire life; and most of it has reflected dance (and still does), with about a five year stretch of running 5 and 10 Ks, a few halves and a full marathon. To be honest, even though it was always recommended, I’ve skipped the stretch. I didn’t find it as much fun or I was simply ready to be done. Since beginning my new fitness program, stretching is a component that is not to be overlooked. In fact, the program incorporates stretching as a fundamental element. As I engaged in a seriously difficult workout, calling Jesus to assist me in “making it through,” I heard a whisper, “Don’t skip the stretch.” While part of me knew it was certainly relevant to an act I needed to perform once satan’s workout was over, my innermost being knew that it was the Holy Spirit’s reminder to not be fearful of this season of stretching that God has ordained; and rudely without my permission! LOL! In all seriousness however, the stretching will yield whatever we need for not only this season, but the seasons that have yet to be revealed.

Stretching has numerous benefits including but not limited to, increased flexibility, elimination of lactic acid, pain prevention, reduction of injury, energy boost and strengthening. Stretching in God has similar benefits if not more. Yet when under the impression of circumstances that stretch us, it doesn’t feel good; it’s not comfortable and yet honestly, God is unbothered by our opinion because God knows the benefit “post workout” so to speak. God knows that after the regimen that He has you under, you will (in time) be pleased with the results. If you trace the Word of God for scriptural references with the term “stretch” you see that although the person or persons were in dire circumstances, when instructed to “stretch out their hand or even the object they had in their hand” a miracle proceeded the extension! To God be the Glory! What if friend, our stretching is a precursor to the very thing we want God to do in our life? In the life of our loved one? On our job? In our relationships? In our finances? And yes, even in our bodies?

When we are being stretched, we cannot underestimate the power of remaining and not skipping the discomfort that God has allowed and purposed us to endure. The prophet Isaiah in chapter 54, v2 reads, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spar; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.” I’ve been in spaces where this Word was declared, and excitement took over the building. I’ve shouted along with the best of them because I’ve viewed this verse as a promise of God’s abundance; and it is. However, the preceding verse speaks of the actual stretch. It reads, “Sing, O barren; You who have not borne!” Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child!” Do you see it? The difficulty, the stretching of faith was apparent. Being barren and hoping for fruitfulness is reflective of stretching. It is going beyond what you can possibly do on your own and transitioning into that by which only God can do – and what God promises in His Word to do!

If we desire to reach the destination to “enlarge our tents,” we must endure the seasons presented to us and not stray away from the methodology God has allowed to get us there. While I am loving my fitness journey, I am loving more the dependance upon God in circumstances that my past nor intellect can solve. My reliance to put my trust in God and watch the strength He elects to deposit within me to be enough is simply nothing I could conjure on my own. At each entryway of difficulty, God has sent a Word of encouragement, a Word of ascension and a Word of confirmation to allow me to rest into the stretch as opposed to fighting against it or skipping it. I speak as a sister sitting next to you – Let’s finish strong together. It’s the last quarter of what may feel like your Jordan year, or experiencing the Jordan River, being submersed by “all the things;” but hold on, do not be deceived; God is not mocked! Whatever you sow, you will reap (Galatians 6:7). Don’t skip the stretch!