Topic:

Stretching vs. Straining

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"Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on." Acts 13:15

     While I was working out, I was concentrating very hard on using my body correctly.  Every move was focused.  My breathing was steady and controlled.  I was absolutely pushing my body to the max!

 

     I would picture things in my head like catching the football and throwing a solid stiff arm.  Strong legs, firm core, and powerful upper.  Nothing was gonna stop me!

 

      Except, maybe myself …

 

     You see, whether I was working out, or competing in a game, I was in fact, NOT using my body correctly.  I would push just a bit passed the max.  When I was lifting, I would arch my back just to lift it one more time.  Or when I’d dive for a pass and hit flat out on  the ground.

 

     One day I got some great advise and I always do my best to remember:

“Pushing or stretching your body to the max is the best way to build your strength, endurance, agility – all of that!  But don’t let pride take you beyond your max.”

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A Pit

       One day, the boy stumbled upon a pit.   In the snare were a few of his loved ones, as he observed, playing around in it.  He felt no pity for his kin because they are known for wallowing in sloughs such as this one, not having a care for the filth.

       As he was passing by, very carefully to avoid falling in, his dear brother came right beside him and jumped in to play with the family!  The boy almost immediately reached in for his brothers hand to pull him out, but he hesitated, realizing if he did – he also would have fallen in.  

So he pondered another way…

“Brother!”    the boy yelled,  “give me your hand!”  as he stood near and reached out.

 

“No worries” he replied “it’s ok!”

 

The boy reached a bit closer and whispered, “remember our Fathers words – ‘to keep yourself unspotted from this world’

 

And with that, the boys brother examined himself. 

 

Without humility, he shoved aside the hand that was reached out to him and climbed out of the pit.  He couldn’t help but to mumble some words of play from the side of his mouth, towards his companions in the mud. 

 

The boy was happy to see his dear brother back on his sturdy feet, and to be on his way.

The Pianist

     Pam was trying not to cry as she passionately performed her favorite song on the piano.  Everyone she knew was there watching!  This melody has been on her heart for quite some time and it was as if the crowd was beginning to disappear as she played on.

     Just before Pam went on stage, she was behind the curtain in a tumult!  Remembering her childhood.

     “Get in your room, right now Pam – and work on your piano scales!”  Her dad would yell.

But she snapped out of her vivid memory when the announcer called her to the stage.  She doesn’t even remember walking across stage to sit at the piano – she was so nervous.  It was like, all of a sudden, there she sat.  She displayed a gentle smile as she thought about how grateful she is for her dads persistence.  She wouldn’t have made it this far without it.

     Pam begins to play.  She’s played this song so many times that she starts to nod off in her mind – almost picking up where she left off when she was backstage….. She pictures the scenery – Little Pam sitting in her room at the piano.  “I hate this!” she says – almost TO the piano. 

     As an adult, now, she knows that dad only wanted the best for Pam.  “But I wish he would have just gone about it differently” she thought.

     Then she starts to think of her own kids – and how she loves to play music with them!  She pictures her little family at home playing all together, laughing and enjoying each others harmonies.   Meanwhile, the song she’s playing on stage begins to entice the crowd.  Pam sobers up and focuses on her song.  “This is an important piece!” she thinks to herself.

     Just as she’s thinking that, her mind drifts back to her family.  In life, she doesn’t quite remember when she went from “I hate this!”  to  “I want everyone to hear this!” … But she’s so thankful that she genuinely enjoys making music.  Taking the melodies on her heart and putting them to the keys.  It’s because of her authenticity that her kids have the DESIRE to learn!

     If someone had known what she was thinking at the time this performance was taking place, it would seem as though the song she played was the theme music for her thoughts!  Almost like these thoughts were part of the performance – or like she needed these thoughts in order to perform this song.

     It was at this moment that her performance became so passionate, she began to shed a tear as she closed her eyes.  And as the crowd disappeared, only her husband and children remained in her mind.  She was performing for them alone, and yearning to teach her kids the art – giving thanks for her passion! 

     When Pams song came to an end, the crowd stood up with a roar!  And more than a few people were seen wiping their tears – being so moved by her song. 

Gym Bud

         There was a time when he and I used to work out together – all the time! Some weeks, we’d go to the gym before work and other weeks we’d go after.  But it was an every day thing for quite some time! 

          Even then, he’s always had so much more knowledge about the physical than I.  It was easy for me to see, by the strength and precision he displayed, and from the obvious appearance (dude is ripped!), that he does in fact have much more knowledge of the physical!  So much that it was almost natural for me to fall under his authority (concerning diet and routine) – Not like a physical trainer, but more like the little brother looks up to big brother.

 

          “C’mon man! Two more!”  he’d say.  With a tone of voice that says so much more…  it says “Go Big or Go Home.”  …. It says “I mean it, if you’re not gonna do this, go home. – sincerely, big bro.”

 

                So I squeeze out two more!  What else would I do? Go home?

 

          It was a unique experience to work out with him.  The relationship was so important!  Me – willing to push myself harder because he’s there.  And he – working harder than normal because somebody is there doing the exact same thing with him. 

     ...Yeah, I was pretty swole in those days                                                               To be continued...