I was planning on running 9 miles yesterday morning. I ended up running 12. What happened? I was encouraged (or shamed) into going further than I anticipated. But at the end of the run, I was better off for it. I had a strong sense of accomplishment and both my heart and waist benefited from the extra mileage. However, if it weren’t for the power of community, I would probably done less than the 9 I had originally intended to do.
Some people like to run, exercise, eat and often do life alone. I’m not one of them. I’m convinced that even these lone wolves could benefit from being part of an encouraging community. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out of bed at 4:30 am on a cold winter morning because I knew my running partners would be waiting for me at the park entrance. I didn’t want to let them down. I also didn’t want to give them any more material to give me a hard time.
So it’s part motivation, part encouragement and part accountability but, as a whole, it’s a fuller, more enjoyable life. When you live in community, whether it be part of a running group, a member of Bible study, or serving team, you find opportunities to bless and be blessed and to experience life in a way I believe God intended.
Last week I noticed that one of my Twitter friends whom I have not met face-to-face yet was moving to Nashville. During a recent tweet he asked about places to run. I promptly invited him to join our early morning group expecting him to blow us off like most sane people do. After all who wants to get up before the chickens? But he came, and we spent some great time together learning about each other’s story. He also was introduced to a dozen new running friends in this new strange city.
Are you in community? What has it done for you? If you have not, what’s stopping you?