“Can you feel that stretch? Can you feel the tension in your arms?...there’s always going to be tension when you surrender your life to Me, over being comfortable...” Not what I expected to hear from God as I purposefully responded to Pastor Lizby’s (C3 Amsterdam) message called Born To Stretch and raised my hands and arms high, stretched out wide - I’d heard it previous to her visit to us at C3 UnitedLife; and boy had I been challenged.
If I look back over my 37 1/2 years, I’ve journeyed all kinds of ‘tension’ and challenge; from learning to be comfortable in my own skin, to having the courage to speak out, to meeting new people, to becoming a wife and mum...and the last 5 years or so have brought tensions I never dreamed I’d have to face; some easier to handle to bring faith and God’s solution to them and others I still journey today, but what I took away from Born To Stretch, was that I will find God in the stretch, in the tension...that when I feel I’m being so stretched, I have to go to faith, I have to choose to trust God in and for the outcome, or that reaching the ‘there’ will happen but I need to journey well, whilst being in the middle.
I’m declaring over my life right now that “I might have more reason to sing than to fear” (lyrics from Whole Heart by Hillsong UNITED) - more reason to worship God than to doubt, more reason to declare His truth than give in, to my insecurities.
I’m reminded daily that it’s also about how I journey my tensions or seasons of challenge; I said in my message a few weeks ago (Super Fruit Part 1) that we should be living lives that are full of joy and strength rooted in God, no matter what life throws at us or is bombarded at us through the media. We can have a different dialogue to the world around us, otherwise we’re just the same as everyone else - but we’re a holy people, we’re set apart, we’re in the world but not of it - the world needs to see that we are Jesus’ disciples by how we speak, by how we love one another. And if we don’t learn to choose joy and cultivate joy, especially in the tension, then we’ll reap other things, like sorrow and worry.
So let’s learn not to wrestle in that stretch - it’s challenging enough right?! Go with it, stretch with the tension - stretch your thinking, align it with God’s Word; stretch your faith and allow His joy to be your strength, stretch your capacity, not to wear ourselves out, not at all, but to realise we can give ourselves to what’s in front of us or in our hands, because we’re filled with His Holy Spirit and God will grace us for everything we’re called to.
Let’s be people who chose faith over fear and are ripe and ready with love and joy, with characters that exude Jesus!
[You can find Pastor Lizby’s message Born To Stretch here on podcast.]