“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
The Bible speaks to us about the importance of living in community and participating fully in the Body of Christ (Church). Jesus even sent the disciples out “two by two” to preach the gospel. Then why do we so often try to do life alone? We hide our struggles thinking we can overcome them in the privacy of our own homes, yet God created us to work together, to support one another, and to share our struggles. What if we applied this Godly principle to our healthy eating goals or fitness journey? Then, perhaps we could encourage one another to stand up… even after a fall.
Look at the increase in success of people participating in church or gym weight-loss challenges. Or examine the increase in success for those with an accountability partner, personal trainer, gym friend, nutritional/life coach, or even a spouse or close friend moving forward towards the same goal.
Don’t make life (or success) harder for yourself. Find a close Christian friend (CCF) to walk along side of, or ask a friend to walk along side you and hold you accountable. This could be as simple as checking in with each other each week to mark your progress. If possible, you could even exercise together, host a bake-off night, cook together, or swap healthy recipes. You could meet for a prayer walk to encourage one another and seek the Lord’s guidance and self-discipline in a specific area. Join a fitness challenge or class at your local church or gym! That breeds built-in accountability and a shared bond to achieve a common goal. One of those people may push you towards your goal… and you may just end up leading them to salvation!
Another tip is to surround yourself with other people working towards honoring God’s temple. If your spouse, family, or friends are not walking this out yet, it can be very challenging. You may find it discouraging at meal times, because they do not want to eat the healthy versions of foods you prepare. Let’s be honest: it’s an all-out spiritual battle to eat a chicken breast and broccoli while your spouse is devouring a succulent slice of your favorite pizza and chocolate cake.
It is also possible family or friends may criticize you, because they do not want to feel guilty for their own lifestyle. Persevere anyway! Let their comments roll off, knowing it has nothing to do with you. Pray for strength and grace and move forward onto the prize… but don’t add to the struggle by frequently going out to eat with friends who are overindulging or creating an atmosphere to derail your success. Would someone struggling with alcohol addiction go out with their old drinking buddies? Probably not.
Although you are trying to live as a witness, and encourage life-change in others simply by the way you live your life, it may benefit you to find friends sharing your common health goals until you are strong enough to eat/pray/exercise boldly regardless of who is around you. Keep visualizing your goal, and focus on how good you feel when you exercise and eat clean! Just don’t try to succeed alone…
” Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”- Acts 2:46-47 (NIV)
Here’s to your health!