ENLARGE the place of your tent
STRETCH your tent curtains wide
Do NOT HOLD BACK. LENGTHEN
STRENGTHEN your Stakes… Isaiah 54:2
As a Chick who is TOTALLY into Fitness,
I understand, to a large extent, what it means to stretch, and I am always telling all my students to make sure they stretch, both before and after a workout. I know stretching can be uncomfortable, painful and most of us feel we don’t have time for it, but if I am going to have better flexibility, improve my performance, maximize my muscle effectiveness, and decrease my risk of injuries, I NEED TO STRETCH!!!
But leaving physical fitness aside, I believe that God is truly calling us all to STRETCH especially if we are to enter our next level. We don’t just stroll casually into the next level, we STRETCH aka GROW into it, and that growth requires some kind of pain and discomfort.
I personally feel like I am living in one long STRETCH these days, stretching into ALL that God has for me in this season. And if we look, both with our physical eyes and the eyes of the Spirit, just a little closely, at most people with a strong sense of purpose and vision, you will see that they are constantly stretching!!!
I don’t even think I have the words for this Post but my heart is just exploding really.
If I have spoken to you in recent times personally, you would have heard me talk about this STRETCH!!!
My Sisters in TFS Academy are on various stretch projects too.
I am actually uncomfortable with the idea of playing safe and doing just what I have always done, coasting on a safe auto-pilot, and maybe people even thinking this girl is ‘all that’ but deep within me, I know I am not stretching AT ALL!!!
Let me begin this by defining STRETCH in light of this blog post, then properly expounding the Scripture I shared above
STRETCH: To be capable of being made longer and wider WITHOUT tearing or breaking.
To cause something to REACH as far as, or as long as POSSIBLE.
To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or regular limits.
People, I believe God is calling each and every one of us to STRETCH.
To do more than we usually do.
More of what, you may ask?
Well, I don’t know what ‘More’ looks like in your own world, but I certainly know what it looks like to and for me. I had to sit with myself and write out all the places where life had caused me to atrophy (and I will explain atrophy later) and start working on stretching again.
But before you jump into a stretch, there is one thing we must do first.
Even with physical fitness, you cannot stretch effectively while wearing that fitted, no-room traditional outfit. You have to ‘enter’ the right outfit first.
In this STRETCH God has called us to, we also have to ‘enter’ the right outfit. And this is where Isa 54 v 2 plays out beautifully
- ENLARGE!!! MAKE YOUR TENTS BIGGER!!! CLEAR LOTS OF GROUND!!!
If I am going to stretch into all that God has called me to, then I need to make room in my life too.
You have this room that you are trying to redesign but it is cluttered, full of junk and very disorganized. You don’t just start painting it and putting in new furniture. You take time to declutter!!!
And that’s the first step.
Examine your heart and life. What is taking up so much ‘room’?
What activities and relationships are taking up so much of your time that you don’t have room to truly stretch into all that God has called you to be.
I love how Proverbs 31:16 AMP says that she expands prudently, saves TIME AND STRENGTH which she then uses to plant FRUITFUL VINES in her own vineyards.
We should take a critical look at the relationships and activities in our lives? Are they saving us time or are they causing me to waste my time with the mundane?
Take a look at what you invest STRENGTH into, both physical and EMOTIONAL ENERGY? Are they worth it?
Beef, jealousy, tryna-keep-up-with-the-Joneses, rivalry, unforgiveness, gossip, social media drama, blog hopping, self-pity, Telemundo, self-worship, Instagram and Facebook, etc.?
Mehn, some of these things may not be SIN but they are WEIGHTS and the thing about WEIGHTS is that soon, they lead to or become SIN!!!
God had to teach me that He can’t fit all He wants to do in and through me into the little space I have left. I have to MAKE ROOM for more!!!
So if we would all just make room in our lives, allow the Holy Spirit to do a deep work decluttering the junk within, we would have more room to stretch into all that God has in store for us.
To declutter means to remove unnecessary items from an over-crowded/untidy place. To simplify. To put an order to somewhere. To remove what I don’t need to make it more PLEASANT.
To get rid of the mess, disorder and complications (AKA DRAMA).
And one of my favorite words ever to use… TO DETOXIFY!!!
I would typically start any weight loss program with a detox. I give my students lots of fruits and veggies in their meal plans to rid the body of unhealthy, toxic and harmful stuff and get it to function maximally.
Which is why we begin our STRETCH too by DETOX-ing our lives.
I did this Post on DETOX which would totally help you understand it all better.
Let’s give God more room!!! He wants to do BIG STUFF for us BUT FIRST, He has to do it IN US!!!
Now moving on to the STRETCH…
2. STRETCH!!! ENLARGE!!! SPREAD OUT!!!
Now that we are in the right outfit (heart condition) for the stretch, we need to sit down and write out places where we have atrophied.
Atrophy: gradually decline in effectiveness, usefulness, or vigor due to underuse or neglect. A wasting away or deterioration.
First thing I had to do here was check my FAITH muscles and realized that if I didn’t quickly stretch ‘em, stuff would get critical.
I had to ask myself when was the last time I did something (sticking to it to the end ooo) that truly stretched my faith? TRULY ooo as in TRULY!!! Not just the one that people will hear and applaud but deep down I know that was not really a FULL LENGTH STRETCH!!!
And you know, our stretches differ per season and per person. For example, offerings in church. There was a season you could probably get away with 100naira and it was a MAJOR stretch but now, you now even 1000naira is hardly a stretch. Same way with prayers.
Before, 15minutes Quiet Time was a real stretch but now, if you spend 45mins, it may look like a big deal to some, but you know you are not stretching.
Which is why our company matters. If we keep staying in companies where you are the SUPER STAR every time, there is a tendency for you to slack and atrophy. But when you have people in your Squad who you see doing bigger things than you and not wearing out, you tend to stretch more, and more and more, and continue to give your ALL, yet you do not SNAP!!!
So check your company, and adjust as need be. I certainly am.
You don’t need to change your friends; you only need to widen your Squad!!!
How easy it can be for us to just stay riding on our old momentum and playing safe because that is what is both familiar and comfortable. But the truth is safe leads to atrophy. And we don’t want to atrophy
The truth is, most of us have way more capacity than we are currently operating on. We can stretch to a new level and NOT break because God is right in that stretch!!!
Another amazing thing about stretching is the fact that it makes me FLEXIBLE!!! The more we stretch, the more flexible we become even in doing those bigger things that we have stretched into. Then we can stretch into even more and more and more.
I recall when I started working out. Some routines were so hard. They stretched my flesh bad. It was both painful and uncomfortable. But I stuck to it.
Now those routines, like Jillian’s level 1 shred, are so easy, I can’t even do them. I am constantly looking for ‘harder’ stuff.
WHAT USED TO TAKE ME OUT AND DOWN can’t take me out again.
But if I didn’t stick it out, it would have still been a mountain to me.
However, if I keep doing it without moving to the next level, it becomes redundant and a waste of time because my body is already used to it so I need to STRETCH into harder routines.
I have a student now who is into running. I had to advise her to STOP running for a season, because her progress slowed, and gave her a variety of other workouts to do. How easy it is to find and then slip comfortably into the comfortable, never wanting to challenge ourselves even further. But if we are going to continue to bear fruits in our lives, we have to be uncomfortable enough to STRETCH into that next level.
2. DO NOT HOLD BACK. LENGTHEN. DO NOT THINK SMALL.
And this is where our FAITH MUSCLES come out to play.
When I stretch, am I stretching to my own limits or to God’s limits? I know how easy it is for us to stretch,
FEAR is the major thing that causes us to think small and hold back. FEAR waits for us at the threshold of every new level and causes us to shrink back. Oh but I have learned and I am still learning to DO IT AFRAID. Not just hash tag and post it to Social media, #DoItAfraid, but be bold enough to not limit myself to my own level.
To close my eyes and PRAY THE KIND OF PRAYERS THAT SCARE WHAT IS SCARED ON THE INSIDE OF ME like my mama Lisa Bevere taught me!!! To believe God for BIG THINGS!!! To not just believe that God can do BIG things but to believe that GOD CAN AND WANTS TO DO BIG THINGS FOR ME.
You know, my Pastor told me something recently. She said
‘…Eziaha, it is one thing to theorize about faith. Anybody can say they have faith and quote all the Scriptures but when it comes right down to LIVING by faith in very practical ways, a lot of us fail…’
I need to strengthen my atrophying faith muscles and pray BOLD PRAYERS!!! BELIEVE FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE!!!
Like Christine Caine says
IMPOSSIBLE IS WHERE GOD STARTS!!! MIRACLES ARE WHAT GOD DOES!!!
Oh I am stretching ‘em muscles. Lengthening all the way, as God allows. Not limiting God. I love this convo between Moses and God, especially God’s answer to him.
In Numbers 11, God has told Moses to tell the ‘murmurers’ that they would eat meat IN THE WILDERNESS for a whole month (since meat was their wahala), but he didn’t believe that was possible. Dude is practically asking God how HE intends to achieve that (like you and I have asked severally).
God’s answer in the ERV is PERFECT!!!
23: But the Lord said to Moses, ‘DO NOT LIMIT MY POWER! You will see that I CAN DO WHAT I SAY I CAN DO.”
And God did EVERYTHING HE SAID HE WOULD DO!!! Impossible as it seemed.
One of the biggest battles we all have to fight is the battle against CONTAINMENT.
I believe the enemy wants to ‘contain’ us at a certain level – in our minds, our faith, our actions, everything. We have to stay fighting. We have to…
3. STRENGTHEN!!! DRIVE YOUR TENT PEGS DEEP!!!
This journey to our next level will take a lot of STRENGTH. As we stretch the boundaries of our faith, we will come against several obstacles to GIVE UP… And trust me, giving up is easy. It is safe. It is comfortable.
But, if God has taught me anything, it is that I can NOT escape my faith tests. If I fail any, I am coming back to write the re-take.
Pharmacy school called it re-sits, and I recall that one stupid BIOCHEMISTRY re-sit I ever took in my year 2. BIOC is already a stupid, hard and nonsense course (You can tell my HATE GAME for that course is still going strong even after 8years lol) and then I failed it and had to re-sit.
The re-sits held during the holidays and they were an opportunity for you to pass that course or repeat the entire year. Everybody was enjoying their hols and we who failed some courses came back to write STUPID resits. It pained me walahi. And every time I think of that pain, I understand that even FAITH RE-SITS or REPEATS have to be even more painful.
When you see your mates move to the next level, and you, because you didn’t have the balls to hold on to those faith balls TO THE END, you have to take resits and sometimes even repeat an entire year. Because there will always be Faith tests per level. Except we don’t mind staying at one level for ever…
This is something I am constantly checking with myself. Am I dropping a Faith ball? Am I ready to take the more painful resit?
This weekend, as I pondered on some stretches, the Holy Spirit told me to ask Funto Ibuoye to share her BECOMING story and test of FAITH with me. You see, when I did this post on Becoming, the Holy Spirit had told me,
‘…this girl is in faith. You need to do what you can to help her faith…’
I publicized it for her. I paid for people. I prayed for her.
I DID NOT KNOW HER PERSONALLY!!!
I just obeyed the Holy Spirit. I believe that truly there is a line of EQUAL frequency in the Spirit connecting us to those with whom we must do life with…
and part of that is holding each other up when we need to…
I didn’t even know just how much she was in faith and then as she shared it with me, both of us were crying.
…How she almost dropped the ball. How she labored in prayers and work sef. How a few weeks to the event, hall paid for to accommodate 350 yet only 50-something persons had paid. How they had debts piling up yet money was not coming in. How she would go to the hall and prophesy that it will be full. How she put a FULL HALL picture on her phone so she keeps seeing it. How she just stayed believing.
And finally GOD DID IT!!!
And then outdid Himself even in their personal lives, just because He can…
She PASSED HER FAITH TEST!!!
And she kept on saying
‘…I know God is a BIG BIG BIG God and so I knew I could believe Him for BIG BIG BIG things…’
If I had a dollar for every time Funto mentioned BIG BIG BIG GOD… Phew…
Darling, I don’t know what God is calling you to EMBRACE YOUR STRETCH in but I certainly KNOW that He is calling you to EMBRACE YOUR STRETCH in something…
Maybe in your job…
Your Bible study…
Your character and tongue…
Your friendships and associations…
Ride solo for a bit…
Leave that boyfriend/girlfriend…
To start that/those project(s)
Sleep a little less
Pray a little more
Your FAITH (Now that’s a general sontin…)
Go ahead Darling,
- embrace your God-endorsed stretch as far as you can go
- don’t hold back,
…because you will spread abroad to the left and the right. You will grow in ALL DIRECTIONS… Isa 54:3a
Dunno about yawl but I am suddenly super uncomfortable (and BORED) with being confortable. I am tired of coasting on the same momentum. You too should. In the Words of my NUMERO UNO Joyce Meyer, ‘WE ARE NOT FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DO A BUNCH OF EASY STUFF…’
Embrace your STRETCH.
What’s a little pain and discomfort in light of eternal PURPOSE???!!!
Wanna know what Scripture has become my new best friend?
Psalms 119: 32… Lord, ENLARGE MY HEART!!!
Oh my accountability partner Aijay Ufomadu is such a STRECTHER!!!
This Chick has a regular bank job, a family (husband and son my son’s age) and she just keeps stretching to accommodate the many dreams and visions God has given to her.
I watched her shoot and upload this video against all odds on THE PLACE OF BRANDING IN FULFILLING YOUR LIFE ASSIGNMENT
She even got Bankole Williams on it!!! Like talk about a FAITH STRETCH!!!
Then she is having her FIRST EVER PRAYER MEETING as God led her for women.
Go go go Girl!!!
Just something super attractive about a woman, or a tribe of women, RUNNING HARD after their purpose, stretching all the way AGAINST all odds. Excuses are NO MONGER VALID ooo!!!
Chase your dreams Darling!!! Everyone else is…
Of which we have redefined BUSY in TFS Academy to mean ‘Moving gracefully from one FRUITFUL activity to another’