Blessed by the Stretch

By Vanessa Dawson

I like to exercise to stay healthy, but to be honest I have a love/hate relationship with stretching.  For me, stretching doesn’t always feel very good – it can be hard work and can even feel uncomfortable or a little painful.  I know it is good for me and the benefits actually help me to stay fit, grow stronger and keep going, but in the moment it is not always fun.  

Life has a way of stretching us and we can all feel overextended in different ways.  Do you feel a little stretched today?  How are you responding to this season?  Let me encourage you from God’s word:  Romans 5:3-5 in the Message translation says…

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

Seasons of stretching can be for our ultimate good and God’s eternal glory.  As we stretch, we will have the opportunity to grow and be transformed more into the people God has designed us to be.  We are all a work in progress and God promises to continue the good work He started in each one of us.  (Philippians 1:6)  

Friends, “let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9  God promises to give us all we need to move forward even during challenging times.  May I challenge you to consider how you are responding to the ‘stretching’ in your life?  Are you fighting it?  Pulling away? Or Leaning in?  

Just like the gains we receive by leaning into physical stretching, we can reap tremendous spiritual blessings as we lean into the challenges in our lives.  Stretching will increase our capacity.  Growth always opens new possibilities and helps us reach our maximum potential. It’s not always easy, but it will bring blessing.  

Remember the story in Mark chapter 3 of the man with the deformed hand?  Jesus healed him, but not before the man STRETCHED out his hand!   Stretching came before the blessing.  

God loves you so much and His plans for you are good.  Trust Him in this season with whatever challenges you are facing, because the blessings are coming!  Lean into your spiritual disciplines and keep growing in your relationship with the Lord, I know you will be blessed!  Spend daily time in God’s word, prioritize Gospel community with your Impact Community, participate in corporate worship on Sunday mornings, and serve alongside others in our church and community as you live for Jesus.  

Let’s trust God together in this season knowing that He is faithful and good, and He is equipping us for new opportunities as He transforms us in the process.  There is blessing in the stretch!  

Leaning in with you, Vanessa

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