Muscles scream and bones protest as I bend in ways I haven’t in some time. My body feels the neglect, more than my mind knows it. …and honestly, I just don’t like doing it.
But here’s the hard truth…
I need it. The stretching. The moving. The moving outside of the comfortable. It keeps my ligaments flexible, joints from seizing from misuse, and helps to maintain a stronger core than I might have otherwise.
…and I hate every minute of it.
This stretching reminds me of other things in my life that I don’t like to do.
Things that I avoid.
Cleaning house. Cooking healthy. Organizing my studio.
But all of these things need to be done
If I don’t clean my house, you may see me featured on one of those shows that you never want to be on. Choosing to eat quick instead of healthy will over time have a negative effect on my health, and not putting away supplies in my studio clouds my thoughts and inspiration causing me to spend way too much time searching for my muse under the pile of watercolor paper and book covers I tossed on the workbench Friday afternoon.
These are all things that will make living a bit more complicated moving forward, and they scream at me constantly.
I can easily pass that chair in the corner that cradles my bible in its velvety cushions. Rush right by the devotional I placed strategically on my nightstand. Or gloss over the journaled prayer slips scattered around the house as reminders.
Yes, I can avoid stretching that spiritual muscle more easily than anything else in my life. After all, I’m a busy girl being pulled in a thousand different directions every day. The effort of it all is right up there with the down dog (if you have never done yoga, this is a stretching position that looks like it should be so easy, but it is a lie!).
But of all the things that I avoid doing every day (and the list is long!) this is the one that has the greatest negative effect on my life.
Recently I was at a meeting for a prayer event that our women’s group is hosting. The general consensus was that it would be the usual people attending – you know, the prayer warriors. We actually talked about changing the focus to attract more people. But there was something that my Pastor’s wife said that really stuck with me.
She said: “Sometimes people just need to be stretched beyond what they are comfortable with in order to grow.”
I thought about that comment for days, pondering its simple wisdom.
When we stretch our muscles in the morning, it prepares them for the vigor of the day to come. It helps to keep them from potential injury when venturing into unknown realms, and gets them ready for a much larger task than they may have been otherwise capable of.
Think about this truth from a spiritual perspective:
Stretching our prayer life in the morning prepares us for the trials we will face during the day. Drawing closer in conversation with our Father (ie prayer) lays a protective covering over us to keep our souls from potential harm, and strengthens us for the much larger plans God has for us.
Oh, it may hurt a little to do that stretching, in fact I can guarantee that it will be uncomfortable if you are doing it right. But if you take it slowly, stretching just a little beyond where you have already gone, before you know it, you will be in a much more comfortable place than before with a stronger core and vibrant life.
Just as not using a muscle will render it useless, so goes for your spiritual muscles.
So step out
Do something new
Stretch and feel the burn
What small area can you stretch today to strengthen your spiritual core? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and encourage someone else today!
Lisa Evola is an author, artist, and seeker of His Holy Presence. Wife and mother to three, grandmother to two, and caretaker of three beautiful puppies, Lisa’s life is beyond what you would call full. But each day she answers the call to less. To peace. To the laying down of her plans in favor of the ones that Jesus lays at her feet. In this year of discovering Wonder, she’d like to invite you on your own journey of discovery. Do something different. Take a trip, an art class, attend a retreat, or write in a journal. See what the Lord has instore for you when you press closer in worship, and become who you were always meant to be.
If you would like to join Lisa in her online journey through art exploration, you can sign up at Creative Faith: discovering the art you were born to create
If writing or reading is your preferred conduit, you can join her writing journey at Lisa Evola: author of fiction, short stories, poetry and prose . As an author of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as a coloring book, Lisa has vast experience and a desire to shout His praises in any way that He leads her to. Her titles include: 30 days of coloring HOPE, contributor for Rise: 32 weeks of inspiring devotions to fuel your first year in college, and is presently working on her first novella entitled Sparrow. You can read more about these adventures on her blog.