Monday, October 8, 2012
Recently, Tim and I decided to give one particular church another try. We had attended this church during the last couple of years until I quit earlier this year. Two different people occasionally emailed me to see how I was doing. I really appreciated that. These people made me feel good. One of those ladies was very instrumental in getting me to go back. She was not pushy and was always so encouraging.
The reason I quit going was not because of the new pastor. In fact, the pastor had nothing to do with my decision. He reminded me so much of my utmost favorite pastor in Florida, the one who unfortunately died in a plane crash 4 years ago. The reason I quit going was because I always struggled with finding my place there. I never felt that I belonged there.
So, we went back for another try several weeks ago. Several people saw me and exclaimed, as if with excitement, "you're back!" I don't mean to sound unappreciative but, where were these people if they missed me so? I probably came across as rude when I stayed silent and tried to smile. Oh, well. I admit, I'm a hard one to know. Thankfully, there are a couple of ladies who have expressed a sincere interest in getting to know me and for that, I am very thankful.
I always felt this new pastor was a man of integrity, a man of strong faith and one who really cares about others and desires to become as involved as possible in every area of ministry at this church. His wife is just as nice if not nicer than he is. She is down to earth and real, as if her husband. Yesterday morning, it became very clear to me just how much he and his wife care about people. Yesterday's message was about encouragement. He implored the congregation to be encouragers, especially if somebody has been on your heart. Tim and I don't attend Sunday school classes; we just attend the main service. Apparently, the pastor encouraged every person in each Sunday class to write a note of encouragement to someone (within or outside of church) and lay it on the altar sometime before, during, or after church. I thought that was a neat idea. This is a great way to remind us to get away from our own self-centeredness and encourage others.
I do like to encourage others but I have to admit that I oftentimes lack the confidence to be free with encouragement to others. I need to work on that. Most people are receptive to whatever encouragement I have offered in the past but there have been a couple of people who just seem to be easily offended. Thankfully, those people are few. A few nights ago, I commented on one of my Zumba friends' arms. She has some nice arms and they especially show in Zumba. I think D initially thought that I meant she had big arms because she commented that she needed to work on getting rid of the flab. Flab? I totally didn't see any flab. I saw fit arms. I immediately made sure that D knew what I meant by my comment and she was so appreciative. Then we got on the subject of our body shapes. Now D admittedly is gifted with a little more mass on her bottom half and she talked about how she would like to change it. This friend, D, is in great shape and it shows by her stamina during Zumba and some of the other group exercise classes we've taken together. I told D how I thought her body was perfectly fine and then I told her that body shape does not dictate how fit we are. I recently took a full-day seminar/training class for a group exercise certification and one of the things that was discussed was weight v. fitness level. I already knew that and I explained to D that although she may be perceived as having a larger bottom, she is more fit than a lot of skinny people half her age. Just because somebody is considered to be overweight, it does not mean that they are not fit. Quite the contrary. Probably half of the skinny people are nowhere near as fit as a heavier person. Skinny does NOT necessarily equal FIT. Extra weight does NOT always equal UNFIT. I told D that we are all unique with our own body shapes and it's up to us how we take care of our health and how fit we stay, extra weight or not. I just love D because she is so real and allows me to be my real self. I think she's beautiful just as she is. So, as per yesterday's sermon topic, I will be writing a note of encouragement to D to let her know how beautiful and talented she is and how much of an encouragement that she has been to me. She is a strong Christian lady with a strong faith and I am so happy that I have her as a friend at the gym.