So as I am seeking His answer for this, for where I am, He shows me that actually both apply. The last few days were hard. I had to exercise my faith and that muscle was SORE. It got used! And this stretching that He has been doing since then has been to keep reminding me He's here. There are times when I have had a hard run, that when I get done if I do not stretch, my muscles retract, they want to pull back. He doesn't want that for us in our spiritual walk. So this stretching, and it has been so uncomfortable, has been to keep my faith pliable, moldable, able to stretch and bend.
Because the other side of stretching is to prepare your muscles FOR something. To do more, to go further, to push harder to BE what is was made to be. So as much as the stretching helps me keep the strength I have already gained, it also is preparing me to hold more. More blessing, more responsibility, more knowledge...to go out there and be what He created me to be.
God tells us in Matthew, Mark & Luke about wineskins.....
17 Neither is new wine put in old wineskins; for if it is, the skins burst and are torn in pieces, and the wine is spilled and the skins are ruined. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.
God can't put all the new into a faith that is old and small. We couldn't handle it. We would be destroyed. If you had tried to put me, who I am today, into the girl I was a year ago, I would not have fit! So through, these trials and testing, He stretches us, changes us, to be able to hold all that He has planned for us. But stretching sometimes hurts and causes pain in order to eventually get ourselves, our faith, our "muscles" to the place they need to be in order to perform the thing they were made to do.
And He also showed me that for some things, as they stretch, they become less, more transparent, showing more of what is on the inside. If you stretch glass further and further it becomes more and more transparent, able to better show the contents it holds and also able to hold more of the contents. And that's what He wants from me. To stretch the limits of my faith, of my belief. To fill me with Him so that I am less and He is more.