This is my first season watching The Biggest Loser. I know, I know, I'm incredibly behind the times but recently, it just seemed appropriate to start watching, and now I'm really attached to each of the contestants (except Lisa - I never liked her). One of the contestants, who made the final four last week, Ada, is the inspiration for this blog entry. Ada came to 'the ranch' without a support system. Every one else had family back home willing them to succeed (or even deciding to lose weight themselves), but Ada's family was not only unsupportive but downright absent! When the rest of the contestants received letters from home, Ada's family declined to write to her.
I was heartbroken for her. I shudder at the very idea of being without my family as my support system. Life is plenty hard enough with them behind me.
I was encouraged when the rest of the contestants rallied around her and let her know that not only did she have a support system in them, but she had a family. That's what I wanted to write about today. Your family, whether the one you chose or the one that chose you, and the people who encourage you. We all crave and need encouragement from the people we love. To know that when nothing seems to be going right or we just feel downright lost in life, there's someone there who believes we'll figure it out and come out on top.
This year I've become increasingly aware of what an incredible quality it is in a person that they are an encourager. I'm lucky to have one in my older sister, Rae, who has believed in me every day of my life and in each and every endeavor. For being the person who knows the most about my flaws and mistakes, she's still always been my biggest and best support. She lifts me up when I'm down. She's always believed that I will be great. I have needed that faith more times than I can express here.
Over the past 4 years I've also found my best friend Candy to be an incredible encourager! I can come to her and tell her what an epic failure I've been at something and she always finds a way to tell me that I'm doing great, I'm headed in the right direction, and that I will get there. We laugh, I sometimes cry, but I never hang up the phone with her without feeling better. She's been my cheerleader through a hard couple of years that I wouldn't be on the other side of without her.
Unlike poor Ada, I do have a great support system in my family. I shared breifly before that I recently had a 'date' with my Dad over Thanksgiving vacation. I teared up as he praised my hard work at setting up my life here in Florida and my first year as a homeowner (which is coming to an end this month). He has supported me, advised me, encouraged me, and helped me through my first 2 years as a real adult, out in the big bad world somewhat alone. My Mom and my baby sister, Ruthie, have been big supporters as well.
There are plenty of others, I could go on forever. Nancy, Bryn, and the rest of the Huhta fam who have become my Tampa family and helped me through buying a place, moving in, even buying furniture off Craigslist (scary). My bible study girls. Pastors and leaders from my church. My coworkers who are incredibly supportive. I really could continue forever...
What these realizations have brought me full circle to consider is this, am I an encouragement to those around me? Do I spend enough time telling the people I care about most how special, talented, incredible, and beautiful I think they are? Truth is, there aren't enough hours in the day to say everything that could be said about the fabulous people the Lord has blessed my life with - but I've purposed this year to spend more time than ever before telling the people I'm crazy about why I am just that. As you may have noticed after almost 2 years of blogging now (and the few video blogs I've posted along the way) I'm much better in written word than I am at articulating aloud my thoughts and feelings. So I've set aside time to write more thoughtful notes this year and in a few cases, even praise them here for you to see.
One neat way that I've been able to encourage people has been this blog. I was touched over the last few weeks by several comments about ways I've inspired and encouraged some of you throughout this year. Several of my readers are now challenging themselves to read more, and setting goals for 2011, similar to my '50 books in 2010' challenge of this year. A few of my readers are now on the journey to better health with me, which has also opened up more opportunies for me to be cheerleader to some of you as you tackle tough but attainable goals. One of my favorite recent messages came via facebook and she said that my positivity about life brightens her days - what an incredible compliment. I hope I don't let her down when she realizes I am occasionally a real downer. ; ]
Each of you is an encouragement to me and I hope that as time goes on I will have chances to be that for you as well.
I hope this entry inspires you all to voice the great things you think about the people in your life. We all need encouragement.