Way Better Than Exercise

Today I crossed the finish line at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It was not my first and probably won’t be my last. It was not my fastest. It was not the full. But what makes it unique and special is who I shared it with (including our experience at the med tent after the run, which is another story in itself :)!

My daughter is that special person…here we are just past mile 10!

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It was her first race of this distance. And it was her accomplishment and presence that reminds me of what makes running way better than just exercise… It’s the joy of doing it together. The joy of sharing a bonding experience. The joy of making the mundane meaningful.

I started running with my Dad when I was a teenager so for me running has been a part of my life for a long time.

Here is a mid-80’s picture of us before a race.

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The fact that I can now enjoy running with my own teenager is a blessing come full-circle. A blessing that prioritizes focused time together. And quality time spent with a teenager doesn’t happen without being intentional.

For that matter, time with anyone in the midst of our crazy busy lives doesn’t happen without being intentional! So whether it’s running or another hobby or experience you enjoy make it an opportunity to engage someone else. Believe it or not, this is an aspect of what it means to glorify God!

We were created to revolve our lives around one another and in doing so we image forth God to those around us in a way that can’t happen if we remain secluded in our little world. We are called to live outside of ourselves for the good of others.

For me whether it’s running with my daughter or any of my other running friends, I find refreshment even when I’m dog-tired at the end.  It’s time I can focus on someone other than myself. A time to hear what is going on in their hearts and lives, learn how I can pray for and uphold them. A time of encouragement in both daily living and in finishing the run. A time of compassion when things are hard in life or on the course. A time of joy in sharing the “ups” and in reaching the goals. A time of connecting.

When I think back over the races I’ve done, it’s not my finish times that come to mind first, though that is important to me as I am competitive :). But more importantly it’s the experience of doing it with who I was with. And this feeds in to my philosophy that there are only two things in life that last forever – God’s Word and God’s people. May we all seek to invest our time in these.

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