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Faith Imagined: Internet Cafe: Stretching

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 12, 2010

Internet Cafe: Stretching


As I build my physical strength, I’ve noticed that I hurt more. I’ll do something seemingly easy, and I’ll sprain, twist or pull something. My back begins to hurt, and I wonder why building muscle is not preventing these aches and pains.

I finally figured out that I’m not flexible. The strength training I’m doing is great, but it needs to be accompanied with stretching all the tendons and ligaments that connect my muscles and bones. If one area of my body becomes stronger, the weakness in other areas become painfully obvious….literally.

So I’ve begun to stretch. I stretch while watching the kids play, before or after my time with God, even during a family movie night. Finally, I’ve noticed a difference in my performance. I don’t hurt as much, and my aches and pains have lessened because my body is better able to withstand the stress.

I have noticed this same connection in my spiritual life. Many times Christians work hard at building our strength as Christians; yet we get hurt easily. Someone says something or does something, and we immediately take offense. Something happens in our life and we get offended at God. We become strong Christians who are weak with mercy, grace and loyalty.

Christians can be spiritual-powerhouses all they want; but if they’re groveling over all the offenses they receive, they’ll never fulfill their destiny to the fullest. We gain our greatest range of movement when we are flexible. God wants our influence to be mighty in His Kingdom, so He’ll stretch us so He can use us in amazing and wide-ranging ways.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being offended. I want to shine glory on God’s throne, so I’m determined to allow God to stretch me until it is uncomfortable — even a bit painful. But I know that when He is done, I’ll won’t find myself hurting all of the time. I trust God’s hand in my life, and I will lean on Him instead of clinging onto hurt.

Have you encountered an offense lately? Did you not offer mercy and grace only to feel bad about it later? How has God been stretching you?

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17.9 NIV).

You can also find this devotional over at Internet Cafe!



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17 Comments:

Blogger Carlos said...

Another great post. Your observations are spot on. You know something else that is neat? If you really stretch you end up getting stronger in the end too (both physicaly and spiritually). Thanks for inspiring once again, Alisa.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Great post Alisa. I was recently hurt by another through things they said to and about me. And while the situation did have to be addressed, I now have to let it go and put it behind me. People are not perfect. We're going to get hurt and others will let us down. But as you mentioned in your devotional, we need to lean on God instead of clinging to the hurt. I appreciate this reminder b/c I need to do that very thing. I need to lean on God, leave the situation in His hands, and allow Him to heal the hurt.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous elybiado said...

The Scripture says...

1 Tim 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

I find the pain of exercising to be good for me? and necessary! Just not easy

9:30 AM  
Blogger lori said...

This WAS one of my all time faves....printed it out, put it in my commonplace journal and just may have to commit it to memory...
Yep, stretching....

love ya!
lori

2:06 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This is such an awesome post. I feel I say this every time I comment (probably because it's true!) : )

Thank you for your words!

:)
Rachel

4:07 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Great post! I need to do some stretching, both physically and spiritually. :)

Blessings,
Susan

8:31 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Beautiful post Alisa!

I love to read your posts and I just never feel like I know what to comment because your posts always make me think! Which is a very good thing.

I think I really need to do some stretching!

12:35 PM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

I really like the transition from stretching muscles physically, to being stretched by God to develop spiritual muscles. You have a way taking a point and really 'stretching' it! :)

12:49 PM  
Blogger Together We Save said...

Wonderful post!! Great compairasion to get us thinking!

2:06 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Greetings -

Thank you, Alisa, for these wise words. Quite interesting how you expressed it.

Also, I appreciate what Karen stated. She is yielding to the Lord in her matter and that is to be commended. Thank you, Karen.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Shauna said...

Have a great weekend! Hope you'll come visit me too :) Shauna from http://www.trying2staycalm.com/

8:09 PM  
Blogger Dionna said...

I need to stretch more often too as 40 is approaching. I get in the habit and then so easily out of the habit!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

Alisa, Great words! I'm in a small group with three other women. About two months ago, we set some real, tangible goals for ourselves - writing, speaking dreams we have had forever. Do you know that every possible trial and suffering has hit all of us, individually and as a group, since that moment? We feel like the "enemy" is on the move - but as you've pointed out, SO IS GOD! He's stretching us - it's uncomfortable, and yes, painful. But I'm sure He's preparing us for something mighty.

Thanks for your great words - I'm going to share it with the "girls!"

GOD BLESS!

11:35 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

As soon as I saw the title I knew this a special post! My muscles are feeling extra tight today and needing some stretching. Ah, yes, God does allow things to happen to stretch us---stretching our faith, and just like muscles--the process can be painful at times. . .but we're able to extend ourselves a lot further than we ever thought possible once those muscles have been stretched and warmed up. Oh.. this is so true for us spiritually as well. We're warmed up and stretched to forgive and show mercy to others, where before we may have been a bit "Unflexible." Thanks so much for this wonderful post!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Joanne@ Blessed... said...

LOVE this post Alisa. It is such a great spiritual analogy. I have a bad habit of getting hurt and then finding it hard to let go of the hurt later.

Great point about growing as a Christian woman--I should be growing a thicker skin too.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

I hear you. Alisa. I believe my focus is to serve and to shine for Him.

10:03 AM  

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