There are always external pressures that cause us to change. The simple fact that each day we grow a day older is proof enough that change is inevitable, but that's not all. We do new things all the time, whether it's driving a new car (or starting to drive in the first place, which changes the equation dramatically) or bringing up children (where every day is something new).
There are plenty of changes we embrace (like getting a new toy), and some we slowly accept and then love (like the internet or Facebook for some).
There are other changes that are thrust upon us, like the changing of worship style in a church, which is often extremely controversial and painful, or even changing the color of the carpet in a worship center (which can be surprisingly controversial as well). Part of the difficulty of change, I believe, is not just that we have grown comfortable with the status quo, but that our "change muscles" have gotten tight for lack of use.
Physically, I have very tight muscles, and they have sometimes caused problems for me through my life (starting when I was a teenager). The doctors prescribed... stretching. So when I work out, I try to stretch my muscles well so that I am more flexible; a by product is that I am better at running (or whatever exercise I'm involved in) because I've stretched. Even (especially) when the stretching comes after the run.
I was wondering; what are we doing - of our own choosing - to stretch ourselves?
Many of us have "bucket lists": lists of things we want to do before we "kick the bucket" (and I'm not just talking about the lame "check off the ones you've done" list that's making its rounds on Facebook). For many of us, there are all sorts of things we'd love to do, but some of them don't seem in the realm of rational possibility.
But none of them will be possible at all if we don't stretch. Maybe it means we'll have to stretch and save money to do travel to a new and exciting place. Maybe it means concentrated effort to accomplish a new goal.
For me, I had a goal of running a marathon, and through a whole lot of effort, I accomplished it. Twice. I was wondering what might be next, and I started thinking about a triathlon (my brother said "Ironman" but I'm not thinking that big).
I've stretched myself in this way: I have signed up for a triathlon this weekend at the YMCA. It's not a huge one, it's indoors, and it's timed (10 minutes in the pool, 15 minutes on the bike, and 15 minutes on the treadmill).
It's going to be a stretch, but I'm excited!