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Stretch and Increase!
By Victoria Osteen - Aug 21, 2012
Have you ever thought about the relationship between stretching and increase? Really, they go hand in hand. If you want to see increase in your life, you have to enlarge yourself. You have to stretch yourself so you can be prepared to receive more and give more. If you want to stretch, you have to take a step of faith and be obedient to what God has placed in your heart.

What are you doing to stretch yourself? You can't just sit back and wait for something to happen. You have so much to offer this world. There's more inside of you than you think!

There's a story about a woman who was newly divorced, almost penniless, afraid of public places, and trying to raise two teenage sons. Through several tragedies in her life, she developed severe agoraphobia and was afraid to even leave her house. She had to make a living, so she searched her heart for ways to support herself and her two sons.

She loved to cook, and all she knew to do for income was to make sandwiches and other simple foods. She found a few customers, but because she was so uncomfortable leaving the house, her two sons had to deliver the sandwiches. Her little home business quickly grew beyond the size of her kitchen, and she now faced a decision. Would she stand still and stop growing, or would she confront her fears and step outside her comfort zone and stretch herself? Though fear constantly harassed her, she recognized that cooking was the seed she had in her hand. As she sat in her house, she could imagine her business growing, and she began to see success. She made the decision to step out and learn and grow. First, she decided to confront the agoraphobia that imprisoned her. Reaching deep inside herself, she was able to take a job as a chef at a local hotel.

Her seeds began to spring forth, and once again, she experienced tremendous success. She was learning step by step that the gifts inside of her were seeds of greatness. A few years later, she opened her own restaurant, The Lady and Sons, right in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. The restaurant's reputation quickly spread and received national recognition.

Paula Deen's restaurant was such a success that she eventually landed her own television show, published cookbooks, and even had a role on the silver screen. Today she is one of America's most beloved television chefs, and it all started when she realized that the power that dwelt inside of her was greater than the fear that held her back.

Oftentimes, people stay where they are in life simply because of fear. Don't let that be you! Be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Be willing to stretch. Prepare yourself for increase because God has so much more in store for you!

"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes." (Isaiah 54:2, NIV)
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