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New Again

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Florida, where sun and fun are a way of life, but one of my very favorite words is recreation. 

What’s not to love? Recreation is positive, active, outdoorsy and fun. Recreation brings to mind friends and family, laughter and memories. Vacations, picnics, ball games, parks, beaches, dancing, climbing, skating, hiking, surfing—Woo-Hoo!

There’s also a deeply spiritual history and meaning to the word recreation.It literally means “to make new again.” In Latin, the word meant healing, recovery and spiritual renewal. Later, the French used to word to express an idea that leisure activities and amusement will restore a person’s soul, mind and body to a healthy and relaxed state. Remembering that life was much harder than it is today, these were not idle notions. Recreation was a key to survival.

Christians can easily recognize the concepts of rest and recovery and recreation. They begin in Genesis, when God Himself set apart one day a week to rest. They continue in Old Testament concepts like Jubilee and Sabbath. Christians are to “strive to enter [God’s] rest.” And the big one, we are “re-created” when we are born again in Christ.

The renewal I get through recreation reminds me of God’s spiritual truths. It is a picture of the ultimate refreshing awaiting us in eternity.

While there are so many valid reasons to stay fit (mental, physical, medical, etc.), my personal approach to exercise hinges on recreation. Both the exercise itself is recreative and the resulting physical fitness allows me to enjoy my body with other activities.

I feel alive when I push my body. I feel young when I play games with my friends. I feel rejuvenated when I engage with nature.

I feel new again.

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