I've read a lot of success / self-help books over the years. Some better than others. Many talk about the idea of stretching like a rubber band. If you've never heard it, the gist is that when you stretch a rubber band it becomes a little longer and never returns to exactly the same size. This is supposed to be a good thing as you grow personally over time and keep stretching and pushing personal limits. But what else happens to rubber bands if you stretch them too much: yep - they break!

So how do we stretch without eventually breaking? And why the heck am I blogging about this? Well...
Lately I've been really pushing hard: reading lots, practicing a ton, giving of my time and energy more, and trying to adjust to a new schedule (holy cow it's hard to be a morning person!!) and I'm finding that I was wearing out. Enter secret weapon: relationships. Yep, an introvert just said that. I definitely need the "me" time and time to think and pray. However I'm also learning that God works through people too and in ways that bring us all closer together. I've been more deliberate about that balance and try to be more open even at the risk of being rejected. So far what I'm finding is that it's the conversations that help repair my damage from stretching.

Ever do a workout program? Any decent one will tell you that you have to eat right and then do a hard enough workout to actually cause a little damage to your muscles. When that damage is done and you've pushed yourself to the limit the body rushes in with nutrients that not only repair the muscles but make them even stronger. But it's not a one-time thing it has to be a habit...and you have to feed yourself the right stuff after a workout! Life and personal development are the same way and I'm beyond grateful that my relationship "diet" has dramatically improved over the past couple of years. So how do these conversations help? I think for each personality it's different but for me there's times when a friend or mentor will say something and it packs an extra punch. They likely don't even know it but usually it feels like God confirming something for me or guiding me in a slightly different direction. That may not be everyone, but it's my experience. It also can be when I'm talking to someone and I say something that maybe I've never quite verbalized before. Same thing can happen. Either way, it's like the mental / spiritual nutrients that I needed right at that moment to repair the damage of stretching myself.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you're not worth someone's time. Have you read Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship yet? - if not, go read it. I still have more times than not when I fall into this trap (I'm writing to myself too!). Funny thing is, it took someone asking me a simple question today "have you talked to __ about this?" to yank me back into reality and get me to realize once again that I've probably fallen into this trap. I can justify all I want about not wanting to pester or be an inconvenience but when I turn the tables I'd NEVER want someone to feel that they inconvenience me. Broken thinking. I get the message...time to stretch again :)

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