I am a person who likes routine. Routine helps me feel like I am in control, even when events are spinning chaotically around me. I could be called a person of regular habits. Some of my routines are such ingrained habits that I occasionally forget that I have done them. Living life on the road means giving up a lot of my established routines. Even a mundane thing like going grocery shopping can be a challenge when you change locations every four months. So sometimes I feel like I am being uncomfortably stretched.
I have been reading “My Utmost for His Highest,” the classic devotional by Oswald Chambers. On a recent morning, as I was reading, this thought suddenly came to me. I am like a bow and arrow in God’s hands. In order to hit the target, I have to be stretched. I wrote that line in my journal without quote marks, so I think it was a paraphrase of something written by Chambers. It makes perfect sense to me, but it is also a little scary and challenging.
There are many things we like to stretch: our muscles, our cars, the truth. But we aren’t so big on having our spirits stretched. We would rather stick with our ordinary routines. We might be stuck in a rut but at least we know where we are going. When we are stretched by God, we leave our ruts behind. We don’t fit in the places we fit before. A favorite quote of mine is “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
But God encourages us to stretch and grow as well. Not just our minds, but our hearts, our spirits, our souls. We are going to be moving into eternity with God. We don’t want to take small minds, small hearts, small souls with us. Instead, we want to stretch and grow and be open to every opportunity God gives.
God has goals for us: plans, ideas, things to do and be. We can’t reach those goals unless we let God stretch us. We can’t hit the target unless we allow ourselves to be a bow and arrow in God’s hands. Allow your heart, your mind, your life, and your soul to be stretched by God. And then you will truly be able to be used by God.