Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 October 2014

Recreational Endurance Sports

The words in that title always seemed oxymoronic to me. Recreation is an activity done for enjoyment – something you don’t have to do. Endurance sports are often closer to a masochistic ritual.

Scotty Smith, a pastor in Franklin, TN, wrote Everyday Prayers,  a book of prayers – 365 to be exact. It’s been my go-to daily devotional for 2014 – a year with an unusual number of personal highs and lows.

For me it has been my early-morning book of reflection, inspiration, tough questions, and tender comfort. His entry for October 18 was especially memorable. He stated in a prayer for that day:

“Endurance without encouragement can atrophy into heartless stoicism. Encouragement without endurance can wither into short-lived enthusiasm.”

I love that reminder. I need that reminder!

Whether it’s a long run on a hot day, a festering relationship with an insecure friend, a steep hill on a windy ride, or an aging parent needing more attention, endurance is the key to survival. 

You can train your body for endurance, but life is more than survival. Stoicism leads to slow death. Likewise, enthusiasm without sustaining heart and legs leads to rapid burn out – maybe rapid death.

We’re all on a long run – whether recreationally or in a daily grind. Encouragement is the key to the blessing of a marathon. Sometimes others offer encouragement. Sometimes you have to find it yourself.

What’s your source of encouragement? Can you generate it yourself?

If those questions stump you, check out Scotty for some answers.


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