Stretch-to extend, force, or make serve beyond the normal or proper limits.
We are all familiar with stretching. We have to stretch out muscles before and after we exercise to help extend them. Sometimes we have to stretch our money to last for the month. Sometimes people will stretch our patience. Sometimes we even can stretch our own patience.
Recently my family and I took a little Texas Roadtrip. We have had all sorts of house repairs and people in our home so it was time for a little change of scenery. My husband and kiddos had never been to Garner State Park or Leakey Texas. I grew up going there every summer. I had not been back to that part of the country in many years so I was very excited to share it with them.
I was reflecting on what a great time we had and some things we did and I kept hearing the word Stretch. So I looked up the meaning and thought of a few things that brought that word home for me….
First we had to STRETCH the packing ( serve beyond the normal or proper limits) We always say we are going to pack light and it always seems to grow right at the last minute.
Next, we had to STRETCH our patience (force ourselves to endure a 5-6 hour car ride)
Then we had to STRETCH our cell coverage (extend, force and make serve because the area had absolutely no cell coverage unless you were in town using a free hotspot with tons of other people on the same network.)
We STRETCHED in so many more ways too. We talked more, we enjoyed nature, we shared many laughs, we ate great food, we explored, we prayed, and we stretched every last bit of daylight out of the three days we were gone.
My family is very active and love adventure and the outdoors. Me, not so much. I love nature, but I am not as active or adventurous as I used to be. My family wanted to float down the river. I have done this, did not care for it, and in the beginning, I still did not care for it. Then as I relaxed, I got the hang of it, after forcing myself to endure it for their sake. I was serving beyond my limits since this was what they wanted to do. I started to look at the awe and wonder on their faces. I tried to keep my complaining to a minimum when my neck was so sore from the position in the tube and the hours ticking by as we floated and floated and floated. We got finished and I was never so happy to STRETCH my legs. Then my family said, let’s do some hiking. I thought, sure, let’s choose some easy paths to help stretch out our legs. My family doesn’t like to do easy, so I thought we could compromise on a moderate hike. No -they wanted to STRETCH the limits and go on a challenging path. I said a quick prayer and said, ok, why not. We started out and all seemed pretty good. Then the climb started STRETCHING my limits! I was hot, short of breath, I moved from first place to last place and my family just kept climbing. My son graciously stayed back just to keep an eye on me. As I would round another bend and upclimb, literaly climbing hands and feet to get to the next point on the trail, my husband would be standing there with his camera to capture the shot. I have to tell you that sort of thing makes you have to STRETCH your words to say only nice things. They encouraged and cheered me on till we got to the top and the view was spectacular. I was happy they STRETCHED me. Then of course my husband doesn’t seem to want to follow the path and we end up doing half of another challenging hike before he realizes we would be way too far from our starting point and tells us we have to turn back around and go back to the original path. Yes, I was STRETCHED (forced to keep my mouth shut!) We finally got back to our path and it had rained up high so the rocks were a little slick. Then I had to make my way down the slippery sloping rocks. Of course I made it, since you are reading about it here. They then wanted to do another trail that was challenging but only for a short distance and then we would be at the river and could take a dip. When we finally got to that point, I face planted myself into the river! We swam and laughed and all agreed that Mom finished it even if it wasn’t pretty at times. I am so glad I STRETCHED my limits.
As I have thought about the word STRETCH since we returned home, I can’t help but think about the Holy Spirit. When God wants to STRETCH us, He never tells us to do it in our own strength. He gives us a Helper! The Holy Spirit enables us to extend, force, and serve beyond our normal and proper limits. Just as our very active vacation STRETCHED my limits, each day in our lives we should be stretching our limits. Stretching is good for us!
Remember, just like there is a proper technique in stretching to prevent injury, The Holy Spirit is our protection to prevent injury and enable us to extend, force, or serve beyond the normal or proper limits in everything we do.
Keep Stretching Your Limits!
~XXOO Michelle Bollom
The Father is sending a great Helper, the Holy Spirit, in My name to teach you everything and to remind you of all I have said to you.~John 14:26 The VOICE
And Jesus looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. ~Mark 3:5 ESV
I stretch out my hands to you in prayer. Like parched land, my soul thirsts for you. Selah~Psalm 143:6 GW
He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.~ Job 9:8 NIV