The word “stretch” is intriguingly powerful. We stretch paychecks to last until the end of the month. Women wear stretchy tights. Men wear stretchy underwear. When a road seems to go on forever, we say it “stretches” for miles and miles. When I was 8-years-old with my own newspaper route, I was grateful for the stretchy, elastic abilities of rubber bands that
kept all the pages of the newspaper together as it flew through the air and sat on wind-swept porches.

Another definition is to straighten or extend one’s body or a part of one’s body to its full
length, typically so as to tighten one’s muscles or in order to reach something. Before I exercise or run a race, I always stretch. When I wrestled, it seems we stretched every part of our bodies for hours before we actually got to wrestle. I highly recommend stretching as far as and long as we possibly can before any workout.

I believe we can stretch farther and further than we think we can. My brother Adam called me today to discuss some items of business. Then, rather oddly, asked me to hold up my hands as high as I could. “Are you doing it?” he questioned, not being able to see me. “Yes.”
I responded. “Good. Now reach higher.” It was at that point that I realized the purpose of his request.

Adam showed me that I could do more than what I was doing. I could reach higher – but I
could also be a more efficient, more dedicated employee. I stretched higher than what I had
previously determined was the highest I could reach. If we work for someone, are we stretching as high and as long as we can for him or her? If not, we should. That’s because stretching is critical to growth – no matter the environment or category. Which brings me to my desire to discuss other types of stretching that are just as valuable to non-physical and employmentrelated activities.

If we call ourselves Christians, are we all-in? Are we stretching as high and as long as we can
to keep the commandments and share the good news with our friends and associates? Gideon with his 300 men were all in. So was Moses going against the Pharaoh. David was all in when he went against Goliath. So were Abraham and Isaac. You can get all in, if you’re not. Just like I was able to reach higher when Adam told me to, you too can change directions like Jonah who initially went the wrong way and Peter who thrice denied the Christ.

When we decide to stretch ourselves, to lengthen our strides, to push ourselves harder than
we have ever pushed ourselves, good things happen. Physically, we can become more fit – more healthy. I remember taking a spinning class from a lady who would say things like “Don’t quit!
There’s only fifteen seconds left! You can do anything for fifteen seconds!” She’d also say things like “Turn the button (for additional resistance) as far as you can without dying.” Then after biking for a minute or so at that high level, she’d say, “OK, now give it one more turn.”

The truth is, we can all give more than what we’re currently giving. Work-wise, when we stretch ourselves we can become more valuable to our current and future employers. Socially, we can gain newfound friendships, renew lost relationships, we can even, finally, forgive. Mentally, we can grasp concepts previously unattained. Emotionally, we can
dig deeper into our past and how we feel about it, allowing a better understanding of our current thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that we can confidently and hopefully approach our futures.

The month of May beckons us to get out of the house more. Let’s utilize the opportunity to stretch farther and further than we have ever stretched before. And when we think we have reached our highest potential, let’s reach higher.

May this month prove to be your personal best,

Aaron, Stephanie, Alka, Marvin and Mac

 

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