And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
Most mornings, I walk my dog as the sun rises. It is solitary fellowship, movement as I make my way through the scriptures by way of the Listener’s Bible. Despite the early hour and the fact that we are virtually alone, I’m still not isolated and disconnected. For evening walks, usually before sundown, there are no ear buds, and people are around. In either case, Sando is good for my health. According to an article published on active.com, dog owners may be healthier people. An added bonus for me?
My dog reinforces the importance of fellowship. << Click to Tweet
Numerous studies promote the benefits of dog ownership. Dogs may contribute to physical fitness. No matter the weather, time of day, or my personal circumstances, Sando must be walked, preferably twice a day for at least a mile at a time. As I walked him last night at sunset, I acknowledged that he ensures that I get out, both physically and mentally. It’s a practical lesson in avoiding isolation. Consider the last time you struggled with fear, doubt, and insecurity; were you hunkered down alone, mired in self-pity? Did you call anyone? Did you get out, literally changing your point of view? Sando must be walked, and even if we are alone, the ritual of getting myself dressed, putting his coat on (yes, he wears a coat in sub 50° weather), getting the leash, and getting outside changes my mood. The bonus is the people we encounter, all that we observe. We are built for interaction; we are built for community.
God did not create us to go it alone.
One study conducted by the University of Missouri pointed to a 28% increase in walking speed with a dog over simply taking what my dad used to refer to as a daily constitutional. We get more exercise by moving faster, covering more miles (I have been known to meander 5 miles or more when working something out) than people out on their own.
The “so-what?” We (human beings/Christians/women) need connection. We were built for fellowship. Even time spent with my dog links me to something beyond and outside of myself. I talk to him. I work things through. We dog walkers engage one another, sometimes making small talk, mostly waving hands or nodding heads as we pass by.
Hebrews exhorts us to stir one another up, to encourage one another, to not neglect meeting together. Because of Sando, no matter what’s going on, no matter how desperately I want to bury my head in the sand, he needs walking, and I get my twice daily lesson in community.
We were not created to go it alone. Community reminds us that we belong; that we are beloved. << Click to Tweet
Where or how do you find community?
Rochelle Wilson blogs at Treat Me to a Feast about her life lived forward, reviewed backward, through the lens of faith. She’s a PK (Pastor’s Kid), who’s been a Baptist church musician since she was five. Always a dancer and athlete, as an adult she turned to liturgical dance to deepen her personal worship. It worked. Rochelle laughs a lot, is married to her first love and prom date nearly 20 years ago. Together God gave them two children and a boxer who is the other love of her life, confidante, therapist, and physical trainer.