The Daniel Plan: Friends

This past week ‘s chapter was entitled “Friends”, but friendship was not what was first and foremost on my mind as I reflected upon the reading. That became more than apparent as I sat down to write this post. I struggled. Big time. I don’t know how many times I sat down and attempted to write a friendship inspired post. Or how many times I highlighted and deleted everything I had struggled to write.

Thankfully, my teacher brain took over. What do I always tell my students? Write about what you feel passionate about. When I finally gave up on the “I should write about” attitude and went to the “I need to write about” attitude, the words began to flow.

I felt quite ‘passionate’ at our small group meeting this past week. (And by passionate I mean I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.) But the feeling of passion did not emanate from my feelings about friendship.

The passion came from this:

Millions of our children are not reaching their God-given potential because we, as adults, won’t take the steps necessary to get them the nutrition they need. For the church, this problem needs to be seen as a moral issue.”

  • Poor nutrition impacts a child’s ability to concentrate in school and leads to early death or disability in adults.

Nutrition in general is a passion of mine, but I tend to really get wound up when it comes to the nutrition of students. I’ve written about it ad nauseam. Check out any of these posts:

(And if you still want more, look under the “School” tab.)

Here’s the thing. We are not doing enough for our kids when it comes to teaching, modeling, and providing the best nutrition possible. Childhood obesity (and all the issues that come with it) is not going away.

We understand the benefits of eating whole foods, but provide highly processed foods at the snack cart and in school lunches.

We complain that kids just won’t eat healthy foods instead of finding ways to make real food tasty and readily available.

We dole out drugs for behavioral and attention problems before changing diets.

But here is the other thing…

I’m part of the problem.  It’s one thing to gripe and complain, but it’s another to make a difference. What can I do to make things better? That’s what I am currently mulling over.

And now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here are other notable notes from the chapter:

“If we pretend that everything is fine and we have no real burdens, we will feel lonely and isolated. It’s when we’re open about our burdens (our weaknesses and struggles) that we find healing and comfort.”

About three or four years ago, I was scrolling through my FB feed when I saw a post from a high school friend. This girl had it all! She was smart, beautiful, and popular. I had lost touch with her for many years, but FB had reconnected us (albeit somewhat superficially). In the post she explained her rather lengthy absence from social media. She shared the struggles she had been having. My heart immediately went out to her. I admired her honesty and thought about how powerful her message was. Her honesty would undoubtedly provide inspiration to others experiencing similar struggles.

Then, one Sunday not too long after this, a guest speaker and local radio personality shared his story during the message at church. It wasn’t pretty. But it was very honest. I didn’t think any less of him. In fact, I admired him more. Again, I thought about the impact his story would have upon others.

I had been wrestling with my own demons for a long time. Privately. But somewhere lurking in the back of my mind was the thought that maybe, just maybe, my story could benefit others wrestling with similar problems. I had already poured my heart and soul into writing my story as a form of therapy for myself. One day I took a huge risk and went way outside of my comfort zone. I created a blog. And as scared as I was to hit the publish button on my story, I did it. Online. With a bunch of strangers. I cannot begin to tell you how powerful and freeing this was for me.

“Love accepts us where we are at, but expects us to grow.”

This pretty much hits the nail on the head. We are not perfect beings. We are in different places in our life’s journey. But the thing is, we should always strive to be better. It’s baby steps. We can gently encourage each other to keep moving in the right direction. We all have strengths; we all have weaknesses. But we  need to get rid of the excuses. We can make each other better, but we need to be able to take risks.

“There are four ways that we demonstrate love for one another.

  • We must listen to each other.
  • Be willing to learn from each other.
  • We need to be able to level with each other.
  • We need to liberate each other. 

What strikes me most is the “level with each other” part. How often do we actually do this? I know it’s a big struggle for me to level with others. I don’t want to make waves. And who feels comfortable enough to level with me? Is it because I don’t let many people ‘in’? I tend to be a private person who keeps a lot inside. But perhaps if I would take the risk and share more of myself with others this could change. Perhaps this is something I need to make into a goal.

And for this week:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12

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