A FAVE Lifestyles “Girlfriends Inspired by God” Devotional
“When God Stretches Us”
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:13
Previously, I’ve talked about God’s call to each one of us, the opportunity to say, “Here I am, Lord!” Our vocations are a very special call. If I were going to introduce myself, remembering God’s call, I’d say, “Hi! Deanna Nowadnick. God’s called me to write and speak, to connect lots of antics and vulnerabilities to bigger, more important lessons in life
But when we say “Yes!” to His call that’s when God stretches us!
When Life Stretches Us
Last summer my 5-year-old grandson got a new bike. He was very excited, but learning to ride his new bike was not so exciting. Austin had gone from a small balance bike to a pedal bike and that pedal thing was giving him grief. His feet refused to stay on the pedals. He fell over and over again. Frustrated, he set the new bike aside.
When packing the car for our family’s “fun in the sun” vacation, Austin’s dad, decided to bring his new bike. Austin was not pleased. He did not think our vacation would be a fun time to learn to ride his new bike in the sun. He wanted Dad to bring his old bike. Dad refused, and Austin’s frustration with Dad became a 5-year-old melt down. He cried and cried. He refused to have anything to do with his new bike.
After dinner together the first night of our vacation, Austin left the table and wandered over to his new bike. He put his hands on the handle bars and then stepped back–quickly. He put the kickstand up and back down again. Finally, he put his hands on the handle bars, put the kickstand up, and just balanced in the grass. Feeling confident, he put his feet on the pedals, pushed down, and moved ahead several feet, slogging through the thick grass.
“Austin, you’re riding your bike! You’re riding your new pedal bike!”
Austin was so excited. Before the end of the evening, he was navigating the sidewalk outside our condo, pedaling faster and faster with more and more confidence.
Two weeks ago—eight months after mastering his pedal bike—Austin sat on top of a dirt bike, ready for the signal to start racing.
When God Stretches Us
God sees us differently than we might see ourselves. When we look in the mirror, we can see flaws. God sees beauty. God sees creativity and strength, courage and wisdom.
God’s also in the details which is important to remember. When we think about what’s next, we can see challenges where God see possibilities. Austin’s dad believed in him in ways he didn’t. God believes in us in ways we don’t.
When God stretches us, we can find ourselves without training wheels, the “balance bike” gone. Early in my career as a political wonk, I lost my position with our state teachers’ association when local, state, and national elections resulted in landslide losses. At the time I had a meltdown of seismic proportions, not wanting to think about new possibilities. I was very frustrated. I had no desire to think about new possibilities.
When God stretches us, we may need to take a minute and balance on “a new bike.” My business coach, Kim Peterson, used to remind me to tend the sheep, remembering that after David was anointed king by Samuel, he went back to tending sheep. His anointing did not take him from the pasture straight to the throne. In the thick grass, Austin was able to balance himself on his new bike. In life’s “thick grass,” we can take time to balance ourselves too.
When God stretches us, He includes the help of others as we learn to “pedal faster and faster.” After learning to pedal, Austin’s dad accompanied him out to the sidewalk where he could practice on his new bike. Accompanying me have been a supportive husband and encouraging friends. They’ve all help me learn and figure how what’s next.
When God stretches us, we can find ourselves excitedly sitting on top of a dirt bike, waiting for the race to start (so to speak). Yes, God will stretch us, but he will also strengthen us!
Where does God want you to DO something?
To STOP DOING something?
Where does God want you to START something?
To END something?
Where does God want you to SAY something?
To STOP SAYING something?
Heavenly Father, we know you are at hand and we need not be anxious about anything. With thanksgiving, we share with You now our prayers and supplications. Lord, may Your peace which surpasses all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Deanna is the author of three books, Fruit of My Spirit, Signs in Life, and Bouquet of Wisdom.