They're graciously allowing me to share my expertise in this area (leftover skills from my health coaching days), so I'm writing mostly for them :) However, if you're interested in the topic as well, by all means - keep reading!!
First, let's explore what is an "accountability partner?"
Basically, an accountability partner is someone who helps another person work to achieve their goals. Of any kind. In corporations, you often see partners working together on a project - they're accountability partners. If you go see a trainer at the gym, she or he is your accountability partner.
As Christians, our definition of an accountability partner takes on an even more significant meaning.
We're called to...
"...encourage one another and build each other up..."
1 Thessalonians 5:11a
"Bear one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]."
In the context of our MTC study, accountability partners are going to:
- help each other learn to #CraveGod and not food or cravings for things that move us farther away from our walk with our heavenly Father
- celebrate successes and pray through temptations
- be there to encourage each other along the start of this journey that will, for some of us, last a lifetime
Becoming a great accountability partner is really pretty simple ... you just need to stay ...
Here's how it works.
C = be consistent - check in with your partner on a regular basis. Talk at the beginning of your partnership about what works best for both of you. Some people like to chat constantly throughout the day, others have commitments that make a slightly longer convo once a day more realistic. Still others might only need contact every couple of days. Discuss a consistent rhythm that works best for both of you and then stick with it.
(Related sidenote : In my experience, with health changes, daily contact is preferable to achieve the best results!)
O = be observant - watch how your partner is acting on Facebook - is she posting pictures of herself out on a run? Send her a note of congratulations! Is she posting a picture of a piece of cheesecake she's about to devour? Send her a quick text reminding her she's made for more than that temporary physical pleasure! If you're choosing to talk on the phone, ask "open-ended" questions (questions that can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response) - observe her tone - is she upbeat? Sound a little down? Dig beyond the surface to help her address what's going on in her life.
O = be objective - celebrate successes with your partner, but also remember that your partner's progress is not up to you! If she has a bad day, please resist the temptation to either take it personally, or worse, give up on her. Reach out, communicate your support and lift her up in prayer. It's extremely tempting for many accountability partners to begin to feel like failures if their partners aren't achieving results. At that point, many partnerships fail as both partners pull away from each other. Remember that, as an accountability partner, you are not your partner's Holy Spirit! Give the actual Holy Spirit room to move and use any difficulties that might come up as an excuse to hit your knees in prayer!
L = be loving - as you join a sister in Christ on a journey toward better health, always approach your conversations with a spirit of love! Let Christ's love flow through you onto her as you celebrate each other's good days and pray together through bad days. And remember - part of being loving means being discreet. Under no circumstances should you share anything your sister may tell you during the course of your partnership.
I praying for everyone starting this awesome MTC study - that everyone who wants to will become awesome accountability partners to offer support, friendship and love as we work together to offer our physical bodies as living sacrifices for our Creator!
In my next post, I'll share my thoughts on what it takes to be accountable.
Prayers for health coming your way from Holland!