By Nancy J. Farrier
I’ve been considering the advantages of stretching. I’m not talking about intense physical exercise. Or, about preparation to run a marathon. This is about muscles that might not have moved for some time, whether from an overnight sleep, or from sitting on the couch for too long, and they need to be worked. The simple acts of loosening muscles can have a multitude of benefits.
When you are tired in the middle of the day, try wind-milling your arms, or walking around the house or office area. Reach for the ceiling, or touch your toes (Or, maybe your knees). Spend a few minutes moving and sleepiness will fade. Blood will be pumping oxygen through the muscles, helping you to be more alert and decreasing the danger of mistakes.
When I am writing and face a problem with my plot or characters that I can’t solve, I take a walk or take time out to do some mundane chore. The time away, the movement and the change of focus will often give me a glimpse of the perfect solution.
Even a little stretching and exercise has helped me. I’ve found that I am healthier and less likely to get sick. When injured, I heal much faster than I used to.
Stretching is not only a physical activity, but a mental one as well. This is one of the benefits of reading, or doing something that requires thought. When I spend too much time watching television or not being challenged mentally, my whole outlook becomes lethargic. I need the puzzle of new activities and ideas to maintain a healthy outlook.
I’ve recently taken a couple of knitting classes. The first one, a class on knitting socks, taught me a skill I’ve always wanted to learn, but never had the opportunity to do. The above picture shows my progress so far on my very first pair of socks. I’m so excited. I’ve even purchased more yarn to do another pair.
I also took a class with my daughter to learn a knitting pattern called Entrelac. We are making a scarf and the pattern is gorgeous, but very intricate. There is a lot of counting and turning, with varied stitches, and sometimes the pattern makes my brain hurt. But I love doing the challenge and the excitement. I’ve included a picture of my scarf, which is now finished.
Try embracing an experiment to learn something new. Maybe something you’ve always wanted to do but have hesitated to try. Your brain may hurt once in a while, but the satisfaction is worth every bit of the difficulty.
When I thought of stretching, I wondered about how to extend my limits spiritually. What does God want me to do? Is there a certain area I need to work on to serve Him better?
I believe we are all different, all at a special place in our lives, so there is no easy answer. For me, my husband is retired. We are preparing to move to a different State. I am backing away from all the ministries I’ve been a part of for years. How does that stretch me spiritually?
I’ve come to realize this is a time where I need to grow closer to God. To focus on my walk with Him so I will be ready for whatever He has for me in our new home. By doing simple stretches of faith, I will be building a healthy spirit, and guarding against injury that can come from trying something new when I am not ready for that exercise.
No matter whether physical, mental or spiritual areas need stretched, I want to be open to allowing those muscles to be sore so I can be stronger. I am ready for a new challenge. How about you? What new skill or faith walk will you try?