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It is early springtime in Oklahoma, and I can’t contain how excited I am for warmer and longer days — summertime!

However, summertime doesn’t mean what it used to mean in my adolescence. As a child, summertime was a three month vacation.

There were no school projects to worry about; I could sleep as late as I wanted and stay up later in the evenings. I spent most of my days outside enjoying the freedom and sunshine.

My siblings and I spent most of our time in the summer in our pool, swimming until we could swim no longer. Followed by jumping on the trampoline to dry off (per our mom’s request). We also took more bike rides than I can now count, all over our small town, pretending we were some sort of world travelers.

We climbed trees, played in streams, it was a great and simple time. Now, I spend my days in an office during the summer doing a job that I love. It’s a different time in my life that makes me greatly appreciate the care-free childhood I spent outdoors.

Thinking back on summertime makes me want to scream from the mountaintops to children today to get outside and experience the great outdoors.

I have gotten progressively worse at this myself. Now I spend my time in the air conditioning, watching television or lounging around rather than getting outside and taking advantage of what the Lord has blessed us with.

Lately, as the weather has gotten progressively more tolerable, I’ve been feeling convicted by this thought. So I have been running in the evenings after work (thanks to daylight savings time, HALLELUJAH).

I have seen the children in my neighborhood out playing in the streets with their friends, balls in hand or at their feet, riding their bikes through the streets, breathing in the fresh spring air.

It has been incredibly encouraging to see. Sometimes, even I get caught up thinking about how “kids today need to get outside rather than sitting inside with their technology,” but I don’t hold myself to the same standard.

So rather than pointing at generations younger than myself and accusing them of things I don’t know to be true, I laced up my running shoes and took off!

Just a run through the neighborhood after work has 1. Pushed me to stay off of my phone or not turn the television on in the evenings and get outside. 2. By exercising, my body releases endorphins which makes me feel better about myself. Sometimes at the end of the work day you just need a little pick me up, am I right? 3. It challenges me. I have been a competitive athlete for most of my life, until I graduated college and that all stopped. So here I am with my competitive spirit, longing for a challenge or some sort of activity, and I haven’t been feeding that. While running isn’t the team sport I’m used to, I race myself nightly to beat my previous time.

As warmer weather quickly approaches, I challenge you to pick up an outside hobby and run with it (see what I did there). I have never in my life enjoyed running, until now. Maybe for you it could be gardening, or just sitting on the back porch reading a good book.

Whatever the activity, enjoy your time spent in the Lord’s wonderful creation!