Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Encouragement, Accountability, and a Challenge!

As I made my way to the check-out line yesterday I bumped into a friend that goes back to the childhood years. She encouraged me by simply saying one phrase, “I’ve been reading your blog.” We then discussed the costs of eating healthy, and some of the things we were doing individually to be healthy. I was encouraged because I did not feel alone, and I was super glad to know that the food I was putting on that conveyor belt were healthy choices. After all, I am blogging about living a healthier lifestyle!

As I continued on my way I had several things going on inside. I was happy. I had just seen someone that is a friend. I was motivated because something I am doing to help myself, and hopefully help others, showed fruit. I was thankful that I was living up to challenges I had set for myself. I was also already spinning my wheels on another blog topic, and since I was soon to be leaving Florence, AL to head to Jackson’s Gap, AL, I had a lot of time to think about some things I wanted to learn about encouragement and accountability.

Encouragement is something we all need. It is something that we all need to give too. I have a wonderful nephew who at age 11 is an awesome young man.  (Actually I have several wonderful nephews. I am so blessed!) Hank, is a hard worker, and is usually very willing to be a helper. Together we have tackled some pretty big projects around the house and one thing I have noticed when it comes to this young man is that he blooms with encouragement. You can see the effects encouragement has on him as you work with him. It is amazing. His facial expressions change to a sweet little grin I love. His young shoulders go back, he stands a little straighter, and he just puts more effort into his work! It makes me want to be a better encourager to him when we are working together.

I think this principle applies to anyone at any age attempting any worthwhile thing. If you want healthy habits both spiritually and physically in your homes, which influence everything outside of the home, be an encourager.

I have gained and lost I would say at least 1000 pounds in my life. My greatest times of success for weight loss involved making myself accountable. When I was paying money to go to the gym and meet with a personal trainer I wanted to utilize the gym and make progress the trainer could see. When I was using a medical weight loss program I kept a daily food diary and exercise diary. When I was going it alone, the only time I had great success was when I used a daily journal. Today, I find myself very much aware of things in the Healthier Me journey because I have made myself accountable to God in a very serious way personally, and I am being accountable to the readers of my blog.

Being an encourager is a Biblical concept. Acts 9:26, 27 is an example of the great encourager Barnabas. Could you imagine the task of encouraging your friends to accept someone that had been a former murder? Yet, Barnabas did just that, and just look at the work Paul went on to do in the Lord’s kingdom!

Accountability too is a Biblical concept. Galatians 6:1-2, tells us to carry each other’s burdens. If we shine a light on a problem, which is what confessing the problem to someone else will do, it is much harder to ignore it. Yet, you need to choose your accountability partners carefully. If you struggle with sweets then your accountability partner should probably not be a pastry baker that you visit in their shop!

We all need encouragement, and we all need to be encouragers. We all must be accountable for our actions. Ultimately, we will all be held accountable for the way we live our lives on that final judgment day. However, in this life we need to practice being accountable for our actions. So find an accountability partner. You may choose to confess your goals to God, you may need to write them down and continually check your progress, and you may need another individual to keep you accountable too.

I have been blessed with two great sisters. They are both smart, and they are both great listeners! I can tell you this too, they are two of my greatest sources of encouragement. Yet, they don’t pull punches when I need it either. They don’t beat me over the head with failures, but they don’t let me fall into a trap of making excuses and avoiding recognizing my faulty thinking/actions in different scenarios of life either. In other words, they sometimes force me to be accountable when I am in denial!

So here is the challenge part of today’s blog. On Friday of this week I will put a $10 gift card to Wal-Mart in the mail to the winner. To be a winner you have to do a few things. Your word is good enough for me!

1.       Encourage someone today, for any reason.

2.       Check yourself for accountability. Do you have a person, friend, or God that you confess things to in order to help yourself stay accountable for the things you struggle with or goals you have? If yes, great. If no, please prayerfully consider the need to do so.

3.       Send an email to me at stepstoahealthierme@gmail.com that includes the following statements. “I encouraged someone today!” and “I have an accountability partner!”

4.       I will put your name in the pot twice if you share this blog link on your FB page! Include the statement, “I shared your blog on my FB page!” in your email.

I will put your names in a pot and have someone draw out the winner! I hope the $10 gift card helps put some healthy habits into motion for the winner!

Thank you again for encouraging me on the journey. May your own Steps to a Healthier Me be successful both spiritually and physically! Leah.

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