My aunt has backpacked several sections of the AT all by her lonesome. She is brave. But I will always prefer to hike and backpack with at least one partner.
We don't have to talk all the time; in fact, I'd prefer a little silence most of the time so I can hear the breeze whisper through the trees, entertain my own thoughts, and, of course, be on the look out for lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Just kidding. Sort of.
Walking with Jesus is no different. There are certainly times when God asks us to step out on our own, away from the pack, and take a step of faith with Him. Such times certainly call for bravery and trust.
But most of the time it's both safer and more enjoyable to walk this narrow trail with a partner. Thus Trail Tip #6:
Trail Tip #6- Be Accountable to Someone
I'm such a firm believer in accountability, it makes me want to hand out flashlights and assign buddies to everyone I know. Remember those days when you'd go off to camp or a band trip or a youth retreat, and the chaperons would tell you that if you go anywhere you have to have a buddy? Well, pair up people! What are you waiting for? Grab someone by the hand and be buddies!
Seriously, have you considered enlisting an accountability partner? An accountability buddy doesn't have to be a formal arrangement, of course, nor does it have to be one person. But the basic gist of the concept is that you keep yourself accountable to some objective, spiritually maturing, and loving person in every area of your life.
Here are a few "for instances:"
- You might choose, for instance, to have a prayer partner with whom you pray for your families, your personal goals, etc. This person will pray with you for these things, ask what the Lord is doing in these areas, and encourage you to keep praying.
- If you struggle in a particular area or with a certain temptation, you might tell a reliable and trustworthy girlfriend about your struggle with, say, raiding the refrigerator each day at 3:00. You would give her permission to ask you the tough questions, call at 3:00 to keep you away from the fridge, and congratulate you when you overcome this habit.
- You'll want to be accountable to your husband for your spending, even if it pains you to have to confess that you bought yet another pair of shoes. And if you're not married, but you struggle with your money, you might want to enlist someone who occasionally asks you how you're doing with your spending, saving, tithing, and giving.
- Remember Tip #5 - Eat Three Meals a Day, or more succinctly, Meditate on God's Word three times each day? It's really important to have someone to hold you accountable here. I let several people know about my efforts to memorize scripture and give them permission to ask me about those verses any time they please. It's humbling, but crucial.
- Get a Bible study buddy, someone who notices when you're not in Bible study small group, asks you on Friday if you've started your homework for the week, and talks you out of your excuses for not attending class or staying with the study.
Here's the bottom line. Not only is "walking hand in hand" on the ancient path more fun; it's also safer. The buddy guards us from dangerous temptations, rescues us when we fall, blows the whistle when we enter dangerous territory, encourages us to press on, points out miracles along the way we might have otherwise missed, and gives us another pair of eyes with which to navigate the path.
But, unlike the camp counselor who used to yell out, "Where's your buddy?" no one can force you to find accountability partners in the areas I've suggested or others. That's up to you.
Still, I'm pleading with you, "Buddy up!"
Do you have someone who holds you accountable in a particular area? Tell us about it.
Labels: accountability, discipleship, Trail Tips for a Modern Gal on an Ancient Path, Two for the Trail