Hey folks! Do you like exercising? Most of you will say, “No way Chuck!” To that I say, “Good, because I’m not a big fan of it either!” Also, do you like stretching before and after you exercise? Once again I hear you all saying “No way, it hurts!” And once again to that I say, “Good because it does hurt!” However, let me tell you about someone who knows about exercising and more so about stretching…Dara Torres. For those of you who don’t know who Dara is, here’s some background on her from Wikipedia:
“Dara Grace Torres (born April 15, 1967) is an American former college and international swimmer who is a twelve-time Olympic medalist. Torres is the first and only swimmer from the United States to compete in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008), and, at age 41, is the oldest swimmer ever to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she competed in the 50-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter medley relay, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and won silver medals in all three events.
Torres has won twelve Olympic medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze), one of three women with the most Olympic women’s swimming medals. She won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics when, at age 33, she was the oldest member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Swim Team. She has also won at least one medal in each of the five Olympics in which she has competed, making her one of only a handful of Olympians to earn medals in five different Games.
On August 1, 2007, at age 40 (just 15 months after giving birth to her first child), she won gold in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, her fourteenth national championship. On August 4, she broke her own American record in the 50-meter freestyle, 26 years after she first set the American record at just 15 years old.”
Did you catch what Dara’s background says??? Five time Olympian? AND at age 41 won the silver medal in three events at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China? WOW! In an interview with Dara and her trainers I saw how she trained relentlessly for her sport but in being 41 years old she incorporated lots of types of stretching (namely resistance stretching) into her training/exercise regimen. The interview showed how Dara would stretch and also be stretched (LIKE A PRETZEL) by the assistance of her trainers. Bottom-line…DARA looked like she was in a whole lotta pain!
So another question for you (and for me) is, “Are you currently being stretched in your life?” Do you feel like Dara Torres being twisted, bent and turned to and fro in this ‘exercise/training regimen’ called LIFE? Does life currently hurt for you? Is life painful for you? Are you at the breaking point and wonder if you can press on any longer? I know I find myself saying ‘Ouch!’, ‘Uncle!’ or ‘Enough Already!’ to God quite often. The stretching (loss of a job, injustice done to you by others, etc.) isn’t enjoyable…am I right?
Ironically the Apostle Paul totally saw life along the lines of how an athlete trains for a great race or other crucial sporting event. Paul knew about exercise and stretching. The Amplified Bible puts Paul’s words like this: “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. 25 Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. 26 Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. 27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Ah Ha! So if we are going to effectively ‘compete’ in LIFE we need to ‘buffet our bodies’ and ‘subdue them’…in other words we need to ‘BE STRETCHED’ because the stretching ‘BENEFITS US’…it KEEPS US FIT!
So as my dear brother Dan often says BE ENCOURAGED…God, our Great Trainer, has got YOU! AND it’s OK to say ‘Ouch!’ so long as you keep allowing yourself to be stretched…as Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do it to WIN a crown of eternal blessedness!”
Press On! (Philippians 3:14) –Chuck