• Paige Barker

Page 06: Do You Stretch?

I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I love it because it helps me release tension, frustration, stress, etc., and because I like how it makes my body feel. I hate it because of how it makes my body sometimes feel, ha. Have you ever woken up after a hard workout feeling like you don't know how to walk? Yeah, me too. However, there are two things I do before and after every single workout. I never leave the gym without doing these two things: stretching and foam rolling. Mainly because it's part of my healing process with a back injury I'm recovering from, but also because it helps loosen the soreness. If I don’t stretch before and after, my body is sure to tell me I skipped an important step.

Stretching is not a new concept to me; I’m quite familiar with it. But one particular night I was stretching before my workout with a stretch that is my least favorite. It’s called the human pretzel (at least that’s what it was described to me as) and I got a simple, yet revelational download. You know that still small voice in your head that you hear? It sounds like your voice but you know it’s not your original thought? Yeah, I had one of those moments. I believe that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to me, so I try my best always to pay attention to those moments.

The Holy Spirit said, "You’ve been doing this stretch for months, and you’re not able to go further in the stretch. Why do you think that is?"

I just sat there quietly. Thinking. Contemplating, realizing that was a true statement. I didn’t try to argue because I knew it was a fight I was not going to win.

The Holy Spirit continued, "You’re not able to have a deeper stretch because you’re not spending the time needed to stretch your body thoroughly. If you want to be more flexible, you have to be willing to endure the pain & discomfort first. Then, on the other side of the pain, you’ll be able to stretch in a way you weren’t able to before."

I lied there on my back trying to process this gentle correction. For months I thought I was progressing, but at that moment I realized I was stretching out of routine, not for transformation.

How often are we like that in life with our relationship with God? We want to be at a certain level yet we’re not willing to endure the pain of the stretching required to get to that level, for many reasons. It hurts. It takes time. It’s not fun. It doesn’t seem like it’s a necessity, or like you’re stretching correctly. We've "been there, done that" and didn't see the results we wanted. Maybe we haven't seen results because we do not want to experience the change that comes with the results.

How many times have you looked back and said, "I could have done so much better in the preparation? I should have done this, this & that."

I don’t know if you’re in a season of waiting, preparation and stretching. I know I am and frankly, there are areas I know I could have been better, done things better and responded to situations better, but by the grace of God, it’s not too late to kick it into gear. And guess what? It’s not too late for you either. If you’re not in a season of waiting you will be eventually. So do what you know you need to do now, so you can be even better in your season of waiting.

My encouragement to you today: let’s not waste this time we’ve been given. Do your best, be your best and get your stretch on! You'll be thankful you endured the pain of the stretching process later.

Praying for y'all today!