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Stretching Your Body and Soul

Oct 07, 2020

This post is by Aleigh Porter.

2020 is a year that has brought many of us back to the basics in life. The previous busy-ness of life has been stripped away, leaving us with time to refocus on the simpler things. Personally, my life has been one of extremes this year. As a nurse working in a major hospital, my professional life has sustained much chaos, while my home life has become quiet with no outside events or obligations. While the dynamic of your life may look different than mine, the level of stress is not.

The chaos of this year has caused our bodies to absorb significant amounts of stress, so how can we effectively combat this process? One area where I have been getting back to basics is in my Move Time. 

I learned long ago that my job creates physical tension in my muscles, so I have been intentional in stretching daily, but it has not been pleasant. In fact, it has been downright painful. 

Why does this fundamental task of stretching cause such discomfort in our bodies?

  1.       We shortcut our actions. Any time we move a muscle without the full range of motion, it naturally stays contracted in a shorter length. Over time, the muscle maintains the shortened length and becomes so tight that it cannot perform proper movements. 
  2.       We perform repetitive movements. When we complete the same movements with the same muscles over and over, the fibers wear out and become prone to injury. Additionally, the remaining underused muscles become weak from lack of activity.
  3.       We are not consistent. When we do not stretch our muscles consistently, the flexibility developed by the muscle is not maintained, which makes it uncomfortable to start again. If you remember back to those P.E. classes and athletic practices, the coaches had you stretch both before and after activity. Every day. Every event. Every time. 

Thankfully, developing the habit of stretching muscles provides many benefits.

  1.       We have stronger, healthier muscles. Stretching regularly allows our muscles to move and function in the way God designed. All those individual fibers become strong and flexible, allowing maximum movement.
  2.       We break the monotony. The hazard of repetitive movements in everyday life is offset by intentional movements designed to stretch the muscles. Additionally, the underused accessory muscles become stronger. They are able to properly support the primary muscles, preventing damage caused by repetition.
  3.     We see long-term results. The habit of stretching provides long-term health for our muscles. Consistency allows muscles to remain at their most effective level, regardless of their age.

While the habit of daily stretching has been good physically, God has not wasted this time and used it to refocus my soul as well. He reminded me that being in His word daily is as fundamental as stretching.

Have I been cutting that time short? Am I reading the same passages over and over? Am I consistently in the Word?  Spending time with His word makes my spirit stronger while reading a variety of Scripture provides a broad foundation on which to move through life. When I am not consistently in the Word, my ability to retain and effectively utilize Scripture in my life is decreased. The long term benefits of Scripture only occur when I am engaging with it regularly.

In the beginning, stretching will be uncomfortable and often painful. Yet taking small, consistent steps to develop this habit will provide a lifetime of health and strength for your muscles. Establishing a habit of time in the Word will be no different for your soul. While the physical is important, we cannot let our souls become a valley of dry bones.

“And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:6 (ESV).


Aleigh Porter  is a born-and-raised Texas girl who loves traveling, the ocean, and her dog Max. She is blessed to be the aunt to the four greatest kids on earth, and enjoys spending time with them often. As the daughter of a teacher and minister, teaching the Word comes naturally to her. While her teaching began in children’s classes and teen activities, she now focuses on women’s ministry at her church in Dallas, Texas. In the past few years, Aleigh has been able to expand her teaching opportunities to women’s events at other churches in the DFW area. Connect with Aleigh on Instagram @aleighporter.

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

 

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