There are times in our lives when we find ourselves at the end. We have tried and tried to do the right thing, or to make a difference, and we keep running into the same walls over and over again, and we have nothing left, so we give up. We quit caring. We drop the ball(s).
That is where I was last April when the pediatrician had given me explicit instructions on how to change our lifestyle while it still could make a difference for our children, before we set our children on a path to self-destruction they could not change, and when discussing it with my husband we could not agree on a path to do that together. So, I quit. I quit trying to manage our food. I quit trying to eat the right things. I quit trying to encourage outside activities. I quit trying to limit our TV. I quit.
In the next three months I gained 10 pounds. Then we moved and I started serving a new church and in the next five months I gained 15 – 20 more pounds. That’s a whole 3-4 year old child I was now carrying because I had quit caring.
In January, three of my best friends, people with whom I have been in covenant to keep marriage in a clergy couple a priority, three of my best girl-friends and I made a bet. Starting February 1st (yes, Super Bowl Sunday), we would spend eight weeks getting healthier. We each put $20 in a pot and whoever looses the highest percentage of total weight at the end of eight weeks gets the pot.
Every day, we have had contact via Facebook private message. Every day we have checked in and made a priority to be in contact and to be accountable to one another to make a change. Every day. For almost four weeks we have lived this covenant. We have shared recipes, and exercise ideas and challenges. We have become FitBit friends. We have seen each other through church votes and funerals and winter weather and recovery from surgery. We have talked each other down from the ledge and we have lifted each other out of the pit. This gift has saved my life. It has saved all of our lives.
Then there was a turn. This little bet that started as, “let’s see if this will be an incentive, because obviously getting healthy is not enough of an incentive,” has moved from being a friendly competition to saving our lives and growing our friendships to actually being life-giving. Each of us can tell a story of someone who has been inspired by our commitment. Each of us can tell a story of how this has been hard and sometimes it seems impossible, but the support of our sisters has made it possible. Each of us can tell the story of how because of this moment God is moving through our actions and teaching us to be intentional about the stewardship of our bodies. Each of us can tell the story of how this love is not just life saving, it is life-giving.
Today I am blessed because I have found a place to be accountable and to be connected. They matter to me and to my being and I matter to them. What an incredible relationship to find in ministry which has the potential to be isolating and soul sucking if we do not find the blessing and the moving, breathing Spirit that gives life.
Thank you God, for good friends, for your love and the example you give when we will listen and pay attention to your leading. Thank you!
P.S. Today – not quite four weeks in, I’m down over 9 pounds! May God continue to be a blessing!