Saturday, March 12, 2011


Furniture I built
Many months ago I was reading in a book called The Power of Full Engagement. The subtitle of the book is: Managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal.

One of the things that challenged me was the need for stretching in my life; specifically in my business. I realized that I had become very comfortable in not doing things that made me uncomfortable.

Here are the words from the book that spoke to me:

To build capacity we must push beyond
our normal limits, training in the same
systematic way that elite athletes do.
Stress is not the enemy in our lives. Paradoxically, it is the key to growth. In order to build strength in a muscle we must systematically stress it, expending energy beyond normal levels. Doing so literally causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. At the end of a training session, functional capacity is diminished. But give the muscle twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover and it grows stronger and better able to handle the next stimulus. While this training phenomenon has been applied largely to building physical strength, it is just as relevant to building “muscles” in every dimension of our lives—from empathy and patience to focus and creativity to integrity and commitment. What applies to the body applies equally to the other dimensions of our lives. This insight both simplifies and revolutionizes the way we approach the barriers that stand in our way.

I added stretching to my prayer list and cautiously asked God to bring change in this area. Time passed as I daily wondered what this would mean. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I recognized what God was doing. I realized He had brought two customers into my life, both with a list of work that was way beyond my comfort level. Not only has the work brought stretching in my life, it has also kept me very busy during what is generally a slower time of the year.

I am realizing in a new way that God’s good work in my life may require some stress and pain but it is always bearable and doable and the end result is a greater ability to serve Him.

If you click on the above picture you will see the fruit of this stretching. I built the wood furniture from scratch. My customer had some specific ideas of what he wanted and couldn’t get it at the store. Behind the couch is a shelf that mirrors the long table. Another side table is in the back and the piece on the ottoman can be turned over and function as a tray. While I wouldn’t compare it to what a fine woodworker would produce, I am very happy with the way it turned out. I let God stretch me and pull out of me the abilities He placed there.

I wonder what else He has in mind.


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