Stretching has been a part of my workout regimen for years, so when I discovered assisted deep stretching I was immediately intrigued to give it a try. Stretching often has both mental and physical benefits, it prepares the muscles to perform more efficiently before a workout and can reduce recovery time and soreness post-workout. Stretching is also a stress reliever, as we tend to carry tension in certain areas of our body due to physical and emotional stress. Tension may build up from juggling work, life, and consistently hearing negative news from the ongoing pandemic, racial injustice, and the polarizing effects of politics on our nation.
With the above in mind, I decided to schedule an in-home 90-minute deep stretch with a physical therapist. This session would force me to slow down, breathe, and relax in the middle of the day with no interruptions. The therapist arrived at 1:00 pm on a Monday afternoon, and she came equipped with essential oils and a relaxing spa playlist. Before her arrival, I completed a client waiver where I identified the problem areas she needed to know about and address. The session was relaxing and informative as she shared insights into the practice of deep stretching and educated me on areas of my body where I was holding emotional stress and how to release it. I soon learned that while a full-body massage is great, the benefits can be short-lived while a professional deep stretch has a more lasting effect. While I was being stretched, I was able to lean into some of the poses with ease mainly because I spend more time on those areas of my body regularly, however, some poses were uncomfortable and tight. At the end of the session, I felt as if I was floating on air, ready to pour a glass of wine and head straight to bed even if it was only 2:30 pm.
As I reflect on the session and the poses that felt effortless compared to those that were uncomfortable, it reminds me of how much our faith was stretched in 2020.
There are areas of our lives that are uncomfortable and tight. Areas that we may be storing unwanted emotions, past hurts, failures, and fears. If we want to experience more and evolve into a better version of who we are destined to become then the stretching is necessary, even if it causes some discomfort. Developing spiritual flexibility often comes when we are pressed and pulled to the brink of our limit and while it feels painful at the moment it ultimately leads to more agility. It is part of the preparation which allows us to bend but not break when faced with the challenges of everyday life. Having gone through the whirlwind of uncertainty in 2020 and making it into 2021, we are no longer threatened or intimidated by change. We are now more capable of bending and releasing anything that may have held us back from growing in the direction of our higher calling.
One thing about stretching is the more we let go and lean in, the better results we achieve, and the better we feel when it’s over.
So if God is stretching our faith, it serves us best to let go, lean in, and trust the process.
Better range of motion is a physical benefit of stretching our bodies and likewise when we are spiritually stretched it increases our ability to move without constraint in the pursuit of our purpose. Stretching also provides the benefit of proper posture and in this new season, our posture will determine whether we can stand up and receive the manifestation of our hopes and dreams. Finally, during my deep stretch, I had to exercise trust in the therapist. I had to trust that she knew just how far I needed to extend to attain the best results. Likewise, trusting God during a faith stretch is necessary. After all, He knows what is required to become a better version of “me”.