As much as the holidays are hallmarked by friends and family, they are also hallmarked by stress. By a push to buy more, do more, and be more to people in all of our lives. The expectation can be heavy.
Now that Christmas has come and gone, the next moment we all celebrate is the New Year. A time, for some, even more stressful as we reflect on all of the successes and failures of the past year. That we make fun ourselves and others for the hearty resolutions we set and failed to achieve or perhaps more aptly, just flat out abandoned.
It is so easy for is to be distracted by the world to believe how big of a failure we are. How could we be anything more we think. The greatness we are called to has to be a mistake because there is no way possible that we can be that great. Of course you can.
Over the course of your life God will call you to stretch. Now, I don’t know about you, but stretching has always been a bit of a struggle. Maybe not the one time deal – you know the one where you get all of the gusto and stretch like no one else ever has (or at least that’s what you tell yourself…) if you are super good, you will do it a few days in a row…and then over the next few days and weeks find something else to do in what used to be your devoted “stretching time”. Believe me, I am an old hat at this routine … how do you think this analogy came to me so easily.
God will not only call you to physically stretch the limits of the body that he has given you, but to be a good steward of it. The success that you find in the the life and lifestyle he has given you may look differently than you drew it when you were a child. You may find that simple things like the budget he has given you is lacking a few zeros or that the amount due outweighs the income. I speak from experience when I say even stretches of that nature can be incredibly painful. No one likes to have to ask for assistance to get up from those kind of stretches.
Most importantly, He will call you to stretch the Spirit he has given you. He may not be the person to incite the stretch, but he will stand with you as you are sent into battle. Afterall, the greatest warriors are so because they have been bruised and battled. They have seen and done things that would break most of us. Believe me, these are the worst types of stretches. These also seem to be the stretches that those of us that are aware of our spark courtesy of Him face.
Internal stretches are the worst because the cruelest of messages are often delivered by something that sounds an awful lot like yourself. If you are even more lucky (note ensuing sarcasm), they will be delivered by someone you love. Or admire. Or both. It will be the biting comment that you never expected. It will keep you up at night. Your insides will burn. You might get an upset stomach or a headache if you are like me. The worst part is that there is no predictability to them, except for the fact that once you get some level of confidence and flow one is probably just around the corner. It’s a bit like that game from Dave and Busters of “Whack-a-Mole” .
Just when you think you’ve gotten it, another one flies up. It’s maddening, and after about 20 minutes it feels like a good idea to give up. As we are tested and stretched, wouldn’t it just be better..To let go on that dream, to let go of that relationship, to walk away from that friend because that lunch date never happens. To move on, because that “hope” has yet to get you anything short of disappointment.
I beg of you to be different. Let Him show you the amazing ability to work things out in your favor. To take you to the challenge and then through it if you will just hang on. To learn when you I get the “I can’t do this moment” turn your mind to Him and ask Him to help. Faith is often the hardest thing to grasp because we can’t pour it in a cup or set it on a table and say, “See, see there is a cup of faith”. You must simply choose to believe and then watch it work. If you say that you can’t do something, you might be right. Alone, there are often times you can’t do something. With Him though, you can do so much. Stretch and you will be amazed at the circumstances you can not only face, but get past.
That’s enough for now…I’m off to stretch. No really :).