Next month marks the 2nd full year that I've been running for exercise. One of my long term challenges has been to learn the value of good stretching. I've come to enjoy running. Stretching on the other hand has been something of an acquired taste, until recently...
On Dec 31, I signed up for the Vancouver BMO Marathon in May. I've run 3 half-marathons and wanted a fresh challenge. There's a huge difference between a half-marathon and full marathon in terms of training requirements. I'm running A LOT more and a LOT farther. To say that my body is 'feeling it' is an understatement! My legs are both tired and sore most days, unless I take the time to do some serious stretching. Stretching forces the muscles out to their full length. It keeps them from becoming stiff and less flexible. In the end, I will be a better runner because I stretch and my body will feel better while I train.
I've been stretching in some other ways too. In early January we invited a group of people together for a ThinkTank session. We spent a morning talking about opportunities and possibilities for Leading Influence. What could the future look like if there were no limits? It was a stretching experience too! I've come to the realization again that in order for Leading Influence to move forward, we have to do things differently. It's the same challenge that every leader faces. In order for the organization to move forward, the leader and the organization have to stretch and grow. For the past 2 weeks I've been working with a business coach who is doing an amazing job of helping me see and change my thought processes and my actions so that we can achieve our goals as a ministry. It's exciting and has been a very enjoyable experience. My homework for later today is to map out what I want to be doing in 2017 and 2020. (I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing yet, I'm just glad to know that I'll have a plan when I get there!)
I've learned this about God. He is all about 'the stretch'. Check out these words from Isaiah 54.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Is. 54:1-3 NIV
Note the words, Enlarge, stretch, lengthen, strengthen. The context of the verse speaks of making room for God's blessing in your life. It's interesting to me that the preparation requires us to move out of our comfort zones and familiar spaces into something new. This requires focus, discipline, courage and faith. We don't get to new places haphazardly or by chance. It always involves some intentional and purposeful choices. Stretching isn't easy or comfortable. It requires work and discipline, but it's a key part of getting us to where we need to be.
In terms of more immediate stretching, I'm very excited about launching Leading Influence Alberta next week in Edmonton. We've built a unique partnership with Evangel Church and Pastor Larry Lindoff that is going to allow us to engage with Alberta MLAs and support them as they serve their province. We'll post some pictures of the event next Friday!