This was not helpful. The voice on the other end of the line kept the questions coming…
I’m not unused to this call every two months or so. Our insurance has a program where I get a regular call from a “health coach.” And, the call is often exactly what you’d expect it to be. It’s a call where the “coach” asks you about your health — asking about weight loss, exercise, injuries that are keeping you down, emotional well-being. And if we do this 6 times during the course of the year we get “points” that have some cash value attached to them.
I, frankly, don’t find it very helpful. I view it as kind of a “big brother” approach. I know the insurance company is just trying to have a system of accountability in place — for our benefit as well as theirs — but I’m not sure a call every 2 months is as accountable as is needed. Every two months I know it’s coming.
And, today, I got “the call.” Usually, I’m able to answer a few questions and be done with it. But today the questions kept coming. The person on the other end kept getting more specific and I found myself making up answers in the hopes of ending the call sooner. I just wanted it to be over.
This is in contrast to the “Covenant Group” I’m part of. Like the “Health Coach” the folks in our group are each in different locations. But we have a video conference online (so we see each other) and we’ve been doing it for 3-4 years (so we have a history together). And so, when someone bares their soul with a personal or family or ministry issue, we can place their struggles in a larger context. We have a relationship that goes deeper than a phone call from a health coach — a call which could be from a different person every two month. And it keeps us all accountable to share what’s “really” going on in our lives of faith.
The bible has has something to say about accountability–even if the word itself isn’t in the Bible.
James 5:16 says that we should confess to each other and pray for each other:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Hebrews 10:23-25 says we should motivate one another in our lives of love:
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
And, clearly, Jesus’ disciples and the early church show us that the Christian walk is not something that should be done alone.
My way of talking about this is that Christians are “pack animals” — we rely on each other. We need each other for the journey of faith.
I understand what the Health Coach is trying to do, but that level of accountability is too far removed to make it life-changing for me. But my covenant group, on the other hand, has strong enough relationships for me to be invested. And that accountability can spill into other areas of life.
So, how does accountability work. Here’s an example from my own life right now…
For the last several Lents and Advents, I’ve engaged in a Photo Challenge from the United Methodist Church. Each day of the season has a theme and those participating are challenged to take a picture with that theme in mind and upload it to Instagram or Facebook. In years past I’ve done this on my own…and had fun with it. But this year a person in one of my churches said she was going to do it as well (she’s a real good photographer!) And not only have enjoyed going through my own day, thinking of how to visualize the theme, but I’ve been excited to post the picture and “tag” her so that she sees it as well. We’re sharing a journey together. And her participation makes my participation stronger. The collage at the top of this post are some of my pics.
To be accountable means to share in a journey together — the journey of faith and life. If it works with photos and a covenant group, in what other areas of life do I need it?
And Lent is a great time to be reminded of this.