- Find an accountability partner. Write down three goals that you would like to achieve respectively. Share them with each other and the practical ways that you plan to achieve them.
- Focus on one goal per week and remain accountable to each other on your progress!
Zaara: When I received this challenge I knew that it would take me out of my comfort zone to be held accountable to a friend for the things that I struggle with. Lucy and I decided to do a weekly check-in on Sunday to share updates about how the week has gone, and to pray through specific prayer requests that might arise. We also plan to drop each other a text each day to find out how the other person is doing.
Lucy: I have to admit I’m quite nervous about completing these goals. Usually when I’m tasked to do something, I stall till the very last minute. I’m going to try my best for this challenge and ask Zaara and my parents for encouragement!
Zaara (Reading the Bible daily): Honestly, it takes a lot of effort to pick up my Bible and read it. I’m slightly ashamed that I have a lot of catching up to do. A huge help was when Lucy shared verses with me that I wrote down and placed on the door of my closet to encourage and motivate me. A change was evident as I persisted to spend more time reading and meditating on God’s word! It was a tough and draining week, but I found myself talking to God whenever I was overwhelmed. During church, I was also able to be more attentive. Spending more alone time with God this week had an impact!
Lucy (Not being affected by peer pressure): Sometimes, I find that my choices are affected by my friends’ opinions, and it’s extremely tempting to ‘copy’ what others do in order to fit in. I challenged myself to ask God to give me strength to think twice before doing or saying something I might regret after, such as swearing or gossiping. This week was really challenging since I’m surrounded by all forms of peer pressure every day. When I shared with Zaraa about my temptation to gossip, she shared her past experiences when she had gossiped and regretted it later on. Knowing that she didn’t judge me and could relate to my struggle assured me, and it encouraged me to press on in my challenge to avoid gossiping.
Zaara (Not giving in to peer pressure and gossiping): This week, there were multiple instances when my friends talked about another person. In the past, I have caught myself joining in even though I know it is wrong. I believe that the reason why I find it difficult to rebuke my friends is because I care about my friends’ opinions, want to fit in, and I fear rejection. Though I was greatly tempted to join in on the conversations, I made it clear to them that what they were doing was wrong and if they continued on with it, I couldn’t be part of the conversation. On multiple occasions I was surprised to see my friends reflect on what they were doing and stop the conversation all together!
Lucy (To desire to read the Bible daily): Bible reading is set into my schedule every other day; it feels more like homework and not a relationship with God. My mum shared some encouraging Bible verses and quotes to spur me on. One quote said, “the more you read, the more you learn from it.” But even so, I am often tempted to just skip a day of Bible reading and read an engaging book instead. Zaara and I talked about the temptation we faced to avoid reading the Bible every day, but we encouraged each other with creative ideas to make Bible reading fun. She told me that doing little calligraphy drawings on the side of her Bible of a certain verse she wanted to remember helped her meditate on the verse through the day. That was something I had not thought of before!
Zaara (Cultivating patience with friends and family): Once I started making an effort to read the Bible daily, I found it easier to be more patient with my friends. Many times I found myself silently praying to God, “give me patience, give me patience,” when I was tempted to lose my cool. I was looking for a perfect friend who was always there for me, and when I looked at my own friends, I didn’t see that. That realisation made me snap at them as I got impatient. By cultivating patience, I’ve realised that only God can be that perfect friend of mine! I still struggle with this but that’s okay. I believe that if I continue to grow my relationship with God, He can work in me and mould me in this aspect.
Lucy (Fighting against jealousy of my friends’ freedom to use social media): Compared to many, I don’t use social media because my parents feel that I don’t need social media at this age. While I understand their concerns, I do get jealous of my friends’ freedom at times. At times, I feel left out from the latest trends on Instagram or TikTok. Zaara encouraged me by telling me that social media can promote gossip and peer pressure, which helped me to not feel as jealous of it. Also, since she has Instagram, she told me that there’s lots of stuff you don’t want to come across, so she sticks to certain topics to view such as her friends, art, etc. Having her personally tell me this helped me feel more confident about what I researched about social media on the Internet, and the decision I made with my parents not to have social media for now.
Zaara: The hardest goal for me was probably reading and meditating on the Bible daily. I generally struggle with having self-discipline for things I have no motivation for. However, this challenge helped me to kickstart a new habit. I am also thankful that Lucy shared encouraging verses and quotes with me to motivate me. With accountability, I was “forced” to hold myself accountable to Lucy about the things I struggle with and how I could change them. Without accountability, I honestly don’t think I would have found the courage to step out of my comfort zone to change my old habits!
Lucy: Reading the Bible daily was the hardest goal for me too as it required a lot of perseverance. Having Zaara helped more than I thought it would. Since we were going through these goals together, we could relate to and encourage each other. Now I think I understand why people do one-on-one Bible studies, attend cell groups, and church; we all need community to build us up in our lives! With accountability from Zaara, we were able to persevere through the three weeks to complete our goals! ☺