Leaning into the Stretch

Sometimes you have to lean into the uncomfortable areas of life.

I have had to do this a few times these past few months.

King David calls it ‘encouraging yourself in the Lord.’

For others, its called ‘putting your big girl pants on’

…And pulling them up real high.

I don’t mind which term you use, but I know that we are often required to lean into the stretch

And that it’s hard

And it takes courage

And it is often humbling,

Even overwhelming.

You may be facing the stretch at work,

Maybe in your family with trying kids,

Maybe in your marriage with issues that are difficult to resolve.

Today I was stretched to capacity trying to finish a song I was writing for the new album.

I am constantly faced with my fear of it not translating the way I want it to

Or of it not being good enough.

I wanted to run from the challenge when it got too hard,

But ended up spending two days reworking the song and ultimately getting it to a place where I am now happy with it.

Many of us, like me, tend to want to run when faced with the stretch,

But I have personally found that this makes for a miserable, unfulfilled life.

Because unless you face the stretch then it can easily dominate you

And force you to live a half life,

Or a life wracked up in insecurity or pain or heartache or timidity or living below what you were born to do.

The bible talks about enlarging your tent pegs.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve had that word given to me as an encouragement!

Ha!

I don’t like getting that scripture because I know what will inevitably follow…

It means stretch, and a pushing back of the old, familiar and comfortable.

It means enlarging my capacity for things,

For people, for my kids, for projects, for God, for His will in my life…

And while I know that without the stretch there will not be growth,

I always find it hard to lean into.

So today,

As I’m sitting here writing this,

I have many reasons (completely justified)

As to why I could easily run away from the stretch,

But like you,

I’m going to choose to put my big girl pants on

And lean into it.

I know that at the end,

I’m going to have a character that has God’s humility all over it,

And His kindness and unmistakable compassion.

I’m going to be doing things that I never dreamed of because I said yes to the stretch,

Even when I felt completely vulnerable and out of my depth and inadequate.

I’m going to have relationships that are marked with grace and love,

Not just tolerance and getting by because I have to.

It’s up to me

And you.

Lean into the stretch today because it is the place where you will find the greatest satisfaction, purpose and growth in your life.

I know this to be true 🙂

Cate x

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Who Do You Think You Are?

I asked myself that question.

It was a few years ago.

And the thing I remember,

Was that answering it involved going through an arduous,

Sometimes beautiful, sometimes bitter sweet process of asking myself,

Who do you think you are?

And the even more confronting question,

‘Why do you deserve to occupy the space you are taking up on the earth?’

I feel I now know,

And because I know,

I want to share a little of how I got there and how answering this question can profoundly

And exquisitely change your life.

Because it changed mine.

The first thing I realised was that there was only one me.

You’ve heard the saying,

Be the best version of you?

Well, I realised that to live in the full flow of my humanity,

I had to come to terms with the very inspiring fact that I was the only one of me that has ever lived,

Or would ever live.

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I don’t know people think about this much.

If we did,

We would be a whole lot more purposeful with how we spent this one life we’ve been entrusted with.

We would live lives of greatness and fullness and ascribe the value to them they deserve.

Which brings me to another truth I learned.

I learned how to value me.

This caused an unprecedented revelation of the worth and the value of the life I’d been given to live.

I began placing value on myself in areas where I’d previously not seen it or acknowledged it,

Which in turn gave me the permission and scope for the vision I needed to start dreaming big dreams and then put legs on those dreams.

I realised that my dreamer had been shut down many years ago.

I had let the moss and the overgrown thorny hedge grow over it like it no longer existed.

I was afraid to dream because I didn’t want to be disappointed,

And I didn’t see myself as having dreams worthy of significance in the scheme of God’s world.

I learned that this was ‘letting God down 101’ because He was expecting that I would not only use those gifts,

But use them to care for others,

Causing a harvest in a circle much broader than merely my own tiny one.

So I learned to dream again,

And the dreams were big,

Too big for me to do alone,

Which is where I learned how to partner with God and His dreams for humanity.

Another thing I learned was to truly love myself.

Being a perfect melancholy,

I had always found this hard.

I’d consistently been the ‘glass half full’, ‘need to have everything in my life perfect’ kind of person,

Or I wasn’t happy.

But this journey of finding out who I am,

In God and in me,

Has caused me to become aware of and accept every part of me,

My weaknesses, my strengths,

My failures, my imperfections,

My successes, my gifts,

My quirks, my personality, my perspectives,

My history…ilikemeBecause I know that loving me for me is critical to a life well lived.

Plus,

It’s sisters,

Like humility and empathy,

Develop from this deep awareness that you will never have it all together

And that’s ok.

Moreover, I discovered that by knowing who I was,

I was becoming less and less interested in what others thought of me

Or in comparing my life to anothers.

I realised that what I had been given was a gift and I took it with increasing gratitude.

Every day, every moment, every hour which turned into a week and a month and years.

I began owning my time and stewarding the little I had been entrusted with,

With great faithfulness.

And I noticed a beautiful thing begin to happen.

It started to multiply,

And grow,

And I began giving and contributing and looking outward for opportunities to influence and give and share.

I have heard it said that through life,

We encounter ‘intervals of possibility’.

Intervals of possibility are moments that bring dramatic change into our otherwise unsuspecting lives.

They come in the form of natural disasters, cancer, marriage breakdowns, losing our job, falling in love…

And it’s in these moments that we find ourselves asking the questions that we should have been asking all along…

Who do we think we are?

What legacy do we want to leave?

Am I being a faithful steward of every tiny little thing that God has put in my hands, including this once in a lifetime life of mine?quote

Now, less and less frequently do I find myself wasting time and energy on things I don’t love doing,

Or things I don’t place a value on.

So family comes first,

And God,

As do other people,

And myself,

Cultivating the gifts I have been given that God has called me to give voice to while I’m here.

You see,

When you see who you are,

And whose you are,

Everything else crystallises in its wake.

You stop questioning whether or not you are born to a life of influence,

Or significance,

Or of whether those dreams will ever become a reality…

You know without a doubt they will.

You know you were born for such a time as this.

You know the world is your oyster,

Then all of a sudden,

The very substance of your life becomes richer,

The pace of it becomes faster,

And you start living the life you were always destined to live.

Who do you think you are?

Cate x