Why We Sometimes Need It To Be Difficult

Read Time ~4 Minutes

 Leadership Lesson: To become more effective in anything, we must be willing to be stretched.

Over the years, there have been multiple seasons in my life which I could only describe as capacity-stretching. They’ve been seasons where everything just seems . . . harder. These seasons have consistently required me to carry a workload that is heavier than normal.

How about you:

It could be that for this season, you’ve got to spend more time than you’d like bringing team members up to speed.

Perhaps you have to study harder than ever before – just to make a decent grade.

Maybe you’ve got to put in extra hours because of an impending project launch that is requiring more output from you than ever before.

Each time of stretching requires a decision. A surrender. To GO AHEAD AND BLEED.

Fitness experts tell us that when we seek to grow a muscle, it only grows through being stretched or broken down under heavy pressure. This same principle applies to our spiritual and leadership growth. If we want to grow (and Jesus wants us to), we will invariably enter into seasons of increased tensions.

There will be seasons where we are called upon to PUSH harder, bear the BURDEN, and feel the BURN, more than we’ve ever experienced before.

 It won’t kill us, but we’re thinking things like, “Ow! I FEEL this. I don’t think I can do this forever.”

God sees our struggling, and while He remains compassionate, still calls us to EXPAND.

 “Enlarge the site of your tent, and stretch out the drapes of your dwellings; don’t hold back. Lengthen your tent ropes and strengthen your stakes.”

(Isaiah 54:2, CEB)

 

The context of this passage is Isaiah depicting Jerusalem as a grieving widow after the sins of her youth have left her barren. In hope, the Lord tells her that she will soon need to make room for all of the children she will have. He has good plans for her; plans of mercy and honor.

But she doesn’t have the children yet. The cords need to be lengthened before she sees this promised redemption.

It is as if God says, “I want to bring positive blessings into your life, but you’re going to have to STRETCH.”

But WHY?

To PREPARE you for the next level.

Sometimes we want things that we’re not ready for, so Jesus gently allows more pressure to come upon us because He is in the business of training our hands for war (See Psalms 144:1). There are many things that we’d like to do or be, yet the version of us that we ARE still requires some Father-filtered pulverizing to become a truly helpful resource to others (see Mark 9:49).

Have you asked God to increase your influence; to help you help others more?

Great! Now let Him prepare you.

Remember that the raw material that He is lovingly pounding into shape is YOU.

The Master affectionately uses this process to humble us and remind us of our need for Him. Amidst the temporarily-increased pressure, we are also coming to the end of ourselves. Our reserves bottom out and we realize we can only sustain this tougher pace with liberal amounts of God’s assistance. Ideally, this drives us to our knees, where we are learning to spend more time.

Do you hear that quiet, lonely, barely audible sound in your tired frame? That is the sound of your capacity being STRETCHED.

The good news I’ve discovered is that seasons of stretching are temporary. We shouldn’t embrace a lifestyle that is always this hard.

But for short bursts . . . this is what it feels like.

So march on.

Keep going.

The only way forward is THROUGH.

You CAN make it.

Strengthen those stakes.

Take a breath . . . Now STRETCH.

Leadership lesson: To become more effective in anything, we must be willing to be stretched.

Pray it:

Heavenly Father, caretaker of those who trust in You. I was made to do hard things with Your help. I will face challenges today which I am not naturally gifted to conquer. Give me liberal doses of your grace to be trained for battle and dependent on You. Fill me afresh with zeal for Christ’s kingdom, the people I’m responsible for, and the work you’ve laid before me. Increase my capacity to do hard things, tedious things, and complex things with a great attitude.

Posted on April 17, 2018

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