We're doing it together. Eating right and exercising. A couple weeks before the holidays, my husband, Steve, and I, determined to cut out sweets and follow a low carb eating plan. Talk about a difficult time to set health-conscious goals and stick with them!
Christmas cookies and baked goods surrounded us while we visited our families. Neighbors delivered homemade treats by the plateful. The proverbial sugar plums danced in our heads. But I have to say, we stuck to our plan for the most part, and on the other side of the New Year celebration, the scales are tipping in the right direction!
With a degree in wellness, and a history of health issues in my family, I've tried to make wise choices throughout the years. But there's just something about having an accountability partner that turns wishful thinking into reality.
When Steve is motivated to avoid those sugary confections, so am I. His exercise routine has inspired me to begin cross-training. And on those days when I'm tempted to inhale any sugar I can find, he reminds me that it's not worth it. Accountability is good. We're able to celebrate our successes and discuss our frustrations. It's drawn us closer together.
King Solomon penned God's thoughts on the benefits of companionship, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up...And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken," (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12; KJV). These benefits can be experienced in both marriages and friendships.
Accountability adds another dimension to a relationship. It adds responsibility. Responsibility to somebody for something. It requires a certain level of vulnerability. Being able to admit faults and accept constructive criticism along with praise.
Jonathan and David had this type of friendship. They spoke candidly of Jonathan's father, King Saul, and the fact that one day, David would rule the nation of Israel. By tradition, Jonathan would have followed his father as king, but he realized God had a different plan. He knew the Lord had chosen David as the next king, and Jonathan embraced God's plan. When King Saul attempted to kill David, Jonathan's loyalties were with David, and he planned a get-away for his friend.
The two friends made a covenant before going their separate ways. David promised to show kindness to Jonathan's descendants after he became king. When David took over the throne, he kept his promise and invited Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, to the palace, "And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually," (2 Samuel 9:7).
David and Jonathan encouraged one another in the Lord and held each other accountable. Years later, King Solomon recorded a proverb that his father had lived by, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend," (Proverbs 27:17). David and Jonathan were willing to discuss and deal with the hard things. The result? Growth as individuals, and a lasting friendship!
Do you have someone to hold you accountable? Are you willing to be vulnerable in order to be sharpened?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the beautiful picture of what can be accomplished through companionship. Help me to embrace accountability, knowing it will help me grow. In Jesus' name, Amen.