Abide

wholehearted: intimacy, courage and freedom in God

Stuck or stepping into the stretch

on August 16, 2016
Stepping into something new is usually a challenge! Change is not always easy to embrace. Moving forward into new things is often a stretch!!!
There are many times in our life when God will call us forward into new things, moments when we’re called to leave the familiar, the predictable, the way things were…and embrace the new, the different, the unknown.
These moments stretch us spiritually. As we respond to God beckoning us forward we are given an opportunity to grow our faith, to stop relying on ourselves and to learn to trust God in the unfamiliar.
God has called us into the stretch many times throughout our faith journey. Leaving our home town to move to the city for my husband to start bible college was a stretch, extending our family from 2 to 4 children was a stretch and 4 to 5 children another stretch. And there’ve been lots of smaller stretches, stepping into a new ministry area, having the courage to be vulnerable, writing a blog! 🙂 God has called us to step out of our comfort zones to tackle new and mostly scary changes…changes we weren’t sure we had the capacity to make. We’ve been stretched, and in the stretch we’ve chosen to trust God in the unknown and believe that His plans and purposes are the best.
It’s easy to get stuck though. In the midst of the stretch it’s easy to look back…especially when what we had was good. It can be difficult to move forward and embrace the change. We can spend a lot of our time questioning God and looking back on what was. We may even want to return to the familiar.
When God brought the Israelites up out of their slavery in Egypt, they faced a journey to their promised land. Their journey forward was an amazing time of being spiritually stretched. It required them to trust God, to follow Him one day at a time. Each day God supplied manna from heaven and they were required to take only what they needed for that day (except the Sabbath- Exodus 16). I’m sure they wanted to ‘stock up’ on supplies and put extra away for another day, but God asked them to trust Him that tomorrow He would again supply everything they needed. The Lord led them by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21).
There came a moment when the Israelites stopped moving forward in their journey to the promised land. They grumbled against God, and in their grumbling and complaining they wanted to return to Egypt! Really??!!!! (Numbers 14:1-4).
Their lack of faith saw them wander the desert for 40 years. They got stuck! They were unwilling to step into the stretch.
It’s easy for us to get stuck too! When God is calling us forward into something new, we must be willing to step into the stretch. Some things to be mindful of in the stretch:
  • our focus is important in moving forward. Unlike the Israelites, we need to stop looking back and longing for what was. Make a decision to fix our eyes on God and what He has ahead for us. Constantly looking back can steal the future that God has for us. We need to stop walking aimlessly around the same mountains and go conquer some!
  • our attitude is so important in moving forward. We must be willing to trust God for what He has for our future. We need to be willing to step into the stretch, to allow Him to shape us and change us in the midst of the external change going on. These are moments of growth, moments that God can enlarge our territory, our faith, our character. Are we willing to let Him stretch us.
  • faith happens daily. Embracing change doesn’t come in one giant instant, it comes in millions of tiny moments as we choose to put one foot in front of the other. It comes by each day choosing to take another step forward into what God has for us. It’s learning to trust God’s provision for today, that just as He supplied daily manna for the Israelites, He will supply what we need for today. We don’t need to worry about tomorrow just step into today. He is our enough for today and our enough for tomorrow. We don’t have to have it all together, we just need to place our hand in His and trust Him to lead us forward. Faith happens in the everyday courage of putting one foot in front of the other.
  • His presence is our greatest gift. Where He leads us He will not leave us. He has promised to carry us through. In the stretch we can be distracted by many things, but it’s in this moment that we need to fix our eyes on God. The stretch can be painful and uncomfortable and it’s in these moments we need God more than ever! We need more of His presence, we need to look for His leading, His strengthening, His comfort, His peace. When we don’t know the way forward and we are feeling the pain of the stretch, let’s lean into His presence and be strengthened by that.
‘I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the destiny that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfil and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus’ (Philippians 3:12-14 The Passion Translation).
 
Blessings!
Tammy

Faith is not a destination


8 responses to “Stuck or stepping into the stretch

  1. Noreen packer says:

    Came at the right time, I am certainly feeling stretched at the moment,God is good

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sally Jones says:

    You’re a great teacher and encourager Tammy. Some wise words there to help us all build up resilience and faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So timely for me, great word I am just about to print it so I can meditate some more on the gold here.

    Like

  4. Tammy says:

    Thanks lovely! You are certainly in the stretch. Praying for you! x

    Like

  5. Christine Canty says:

    Hi Tammy. Just want to encourage you in your writings. You have a wonderful gift in sharing what is on your heart and mind and in doing this you bless many. Thanks for once again inspiring and challenging me. Blessings. Christine

    Like

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