Do you think it’s possible to worship God through exercise? Do you think it’s possible to draw closer to God while you perform an exercise or stretch? Let me share with you something that allows you to do both of those: a stretching devotional. A stretching devotional is a devotional that you can use when you first wake up (or any time of the day) and can take 5 minutes to stretch.
Now I can hear some of you saying “I don’t have time in the morning to stretch!”, “my child(ren) wake(s) me up and I am not able to use 5 minutes to stretch and do a devotional”, or “I’m not awake enough in the morning to do this.” All of these are very valid; however, I challenge you to consider a few things:
- Could you set your alarm for 5 minutes earlier?
- Is there another time of the day when you could do a stretching devotional?
- Is there something you could remove from this season of life to give yourself 5 minutes?
- Could your child(ren) do this devotional with you?
Why is a stretching devotional important? Our muscles need to stretch. Since stretching is something our bodies need, why not combine it with something else we need—time to connect with God. I’m all about multi-tasking (if both tasks can be done well)! A stretching devotional allows you to worship God while nourishing your body and in doing so you grow closer to God in body and spirit.
Join with me as we meditate on God’s word and nourish our bodies through stretching:
Breathe deeply as you picture God on the thrown. Think about the breath of God in the beginning of creation, traveling across the water and earth, bringing life into all things. Continue breathing deeply as your draw your shoulders back and down, relaxing your body, but continuing to keep a strong upright posture.
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3).
“I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers” (Ephesians 3:18).
Sit up tall, cross-legged, somewhere quiet.
Inhale as you stretch your arms up, bring your hands together and bend your body to the left. Picture whoever is seated at God’s left hand. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight and think about God’s loving arms wrap around you with these words:
“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you” (Deuteronomy 33:27a).
“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71:3).
Take another deep breath in and bring your body back to the center, arms straight out. Picture God smiling at you, holding his arms out to you. Exhale as you lift your arms up, hands together, and bend your body to the right. Picture Jesus sitting at God’s right hand. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight and think about God’s promises that he lays his very own hands upon us:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139).
Inhale center, arms up. Place your hands on your hips and gently bend your head back, chin straight up to the sky. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight, quiet your mind, and listen for the security from your protector, spoken through the Holy Scripture:
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).
Inhale back to center, arms up. Exhale straight forward, bending your body toward the ground. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight, quiet your mind, and listen for the love and encouragement from your Father in Heaven, spoken through the Holy Scripture:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139).
Inhale Center, place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand on the ground behind you. Bring your gaze over your left shoulder and close your eyes. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight, quiet your mind, and listen for the love and encouragement from your Father in Heaven, spoken through the words of Jeremiah:
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3).
Inhale Center, place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the ground behind you. Bring your gaze over your right shoulder and close your eyes. Take four deep breaths as you hold your core tight, quiet your mind, and listen for the love and encouragement from your Father in Heaven, spoken through the Holy Scripture:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Continue your stretching while you:
If you can, use this stretching devotional daily to nourish your body, mind, and spirit while worshiping God. Stretching is essential for injury prevention, stress management, and overall health!
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Ashley R. Darkenwald
With contribution from Caitlyn J. Hanson
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.