What is Real Friendship?

Is friendship, when you are there only when you can? Does friendship mean you drop everything when a friend calls? Do you tell a friend the truth all the time? What about what Thumper says in the Disney classic, Bambi, “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all,” or what about what Tom Cruise says in a Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.” Or is it somewhere in between?

I have had a number of friends come under attack these past few months. Some of them started the battle, most it came out of nowhere. The really painful ones have been husband vs wife, employee vs employer, parent vs child, friend vs friend.

Honestly for me the choice whether to support them or not has been an easy one. I know my upbringing in the Islands plays apart in this. I never saw people go through hardship alone, friends always came a running, friends brought food, stayed up all night, called and you were not alone.

What happens when sin comes in the mix? What about if your friend is not without blame? What if others ask how you can side with a sinner? Actually that’s an easy one Jesus preferred the honest sinner to the professional religious person. Jesus loves the fallen and the needy so that’s not hard. So what about if hanging out with your friend comes at a cost? What if it’s not easy, or not convenient?

Well what does the Bible say about being a friend?

Job 2:11

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz , Bildad, and Zophar heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.”

So we are to be there when our friends are hurting

Proverbs 18:24

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”

Sometime the old adage blood is thicker than water is not true, in fact more often in my life it has been my best friends that have been there to stick by me.

Proverbs 17:17

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity”

I think true friends may not always agree with you but they choose to be there in the trench with you.

John 15:13

The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

True friends are willing to stick their necks out for a friend no matter what the cost

Proverbs 20:6

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?

Once again loyal friends show up when you need them too not when it’s convenient.

King David was a lover and a fighter but 4 of the best examples of friendship comes from him: David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3, 20:17, King David and Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:23),David and Nahash (2 Samuel 10:2)and David and Hushai (2 Samuel 15:32–37)

David was loyal to the point of sacrifice and for me that’s the point. When something happens all your friends usually are there to start with but the true friends are still there 2 weeks, 2 months and 2 years later.

True friends:

  • Text and ask how you are doing
  • Facebook message and check on you
  • Drive over the bridge to check, get on a plane, stay up late to have a coffee
  • It doesn’t have to cost money but it always costs emotionally and with time.

John 15:3 says a friend lays down his or her life and I think that means gives up their rights, their time, gives their heart. Jesus laid down his life for us and as in all things He did he modelled sacrifice.

We can’t ever go as far as he did but just like Jesus I want to hang out with the needy, the messy, the lonely, the hurting and my friends.

MatthewFit 4 Life Staff

My tips for Depression and Anxiety

Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss our mental health and not include it as part of our physical health, but anyone who has struggled with mental health issues will tell you that the two work together.

At Fit 4 Life we have included mental health as part of our four focus points – Fitness, Finance, Faith and Friendship. A number of our staff have been dealing with or have dealt with ongoing mental health challenges from burnout and anxiety to depression and more. As you struggle with what’s going on in your brain, it makes life harder including your personal fitness regime. Staying motivated is so difficult when it’s just a challenge to get out of bed and thus the vicious circle is born. Physical fitness and the endorphins that come with exercise are a vital part of recovering and moving through mental health issues.

Here’s a few tips that I have discovered about myself as I deal with anxiety.

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor – it can be a huge relief to have someone journey with you who has some expertise in health issues.
  2. Don’t be a martyr about medication – anti-anxiety and depression meds are there for a reason. They help our brains reboot and gives us the space to start being the person we want to be and make the necessary changes. My doctor told me that I might need medication for as long as it took me to get to the place I was in. I feel better on my meds so I am in no rush! 🙂
  3. Do share your story – keeping your mental health stuff a secret only magnifies it. Find some people that are your friends and don’t care if you repeat your health story a million times. They can be a listening, empathetic ear as well as give us perspective when we need it sometimes.
  4. Do realise that your mental health challenge is going to change you – you might find your ability to cope is diminished or your ability to balance a hectic lifestyle may be changed. It’s ok…..becoming comfortable with just being is part of the journey.
  5. Do find things that bring JOY in your life – hobbies, people, TV shows, movies etc. Whatever gives you even a smidgen of fun, joy and distraction can be a good thing for your mental health.
  6. Do some exercise – try and do something physical every day – work out at the gym, go for a stroll, garden, dancing or whatever….find something you enjoy!
  7. Do realise that others are not going to fully understand what it is like for you and we need to have appropriate expectations of others.
  8. Don’t be ashamed to find others who are experiencing similar things to you. There is a real sense of camaraderie that comes when you share your story with someone who is also struggling.

Hope you found some of these helpful. They are just things I have done to help me in my journey with anxiety.

Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff

Christy

Fun Photo Tuesday

Here’s some photos from the last week or two. Enjoy!!

Guys at the Desk - June 2013

Guys busy at work! Our great team – Benny, Nathan and Jason.

Gym Girls Chatting - June 2012

Great to see the ladies working out at Fit 4 Life. Always good to have some friends to chat to in between.

Nathan and Leroy - June 2013

Nathan getting to know one of our Fit 4 Life members.

Sue with guys in background - June 2013

Awesome to see all ages working out at Fit 4 Life!

Jason and Benny at Desk - June 2013

And to finish off today’s post….Benny and Jason being…well…Benny and Jason!

 

 

 

Friendship – Befriending the Community- Volunteering

Everyday, Fit 4 Life is run by our staff team, but also by a team of volunteers. We would not be able to offer what we do without them. Here’s a big shout-out and thank you to all our volunteers who do what they do- whether it is helping out at the desk or taking a group class, we would be a very different gym without you. 

The other day I came across this article about the health benefits of volunteering which got me thinking about it a bit more.

Volunteering is a way of relating to those in the wider community and it looks like in ‘giving back’ by helping others, we end up helping ourselves too– emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. These benefits mean we might even live longer!

In light of all the sad stuff that happens around us and in the world, it is always uplifting to hear of those who give off their time and effort to do something positive for others, whether it is just a couple hours a year or something they do every day. It is worth acting on that ‘helpless’ feeling we get when bad things happen, by going and doing something out there, even if it is not directly saving lives, it still is worth doing simple things within your skill-base like making hats for babies or putting out traffic cones out for a sporting event.

If you feel a desire to be active in reaching out to those around you via volunteering, there are countless organisations who would appreciate your help- from Refugee Services, to the Salvation Army, to various sports organisations, or simply at your own church if you go to one, the options are wide open!

Sarah – Fit 4 Life Staff

Sarah

 

Fitness – If I can….you can too!

I have recently tried something that people have told me about for years and I just didn’t believe them.

Working out can be a lot more fun if you have a specific event you are working up to.

I entered my first Triathlon (www.peoplestri.co.nz) and am competing this Sunday.  People have encouraged me to enter different events over the years but I always turned them down.  Now after training for this tri I am converted!

If you struggle to get excited for training or find it really easy to make excuses not to work out then you should try entering an event that you can work up to.  Tracking my progress in running and swimming has been very motivational. I am not sure how it will go on the day – especially because I have never done one before.

If you are not a big fan of solo sports there are tons of events you can enter as a team. For example there is a cool one coming up soon:  www.orock.co.nz  you could find a team and have a great time on an obstacle course.

Don’t worry if you are a noob – everyone has to start somewhere, don’t be scared and have fun with it!

Jason – Fit 4 Life Staff

Jason

Faith – Easter Thoughts

This weekend my family and I will be celebrating Easter.

Easter is an important celebration and memorial time for Christians as we remember – as my family does every year – the events and circumstances surrounding Jesus Christ’s death and His resurrection back to life, and the purpose and accomplishments that were achieved for humanity as a result of these triumphant actions.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ separates and sets Him apart from all other great religious teachers like Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, etc.  However a great many people still remain confused about Jesus Christ, considering Him to be just one of a number of good moral teachers in a long line of good moral teachers who have appeared on the world stage throughout the centuries.

As a case in point I recently came across a quote from the actress Jena Malone who said, “A lot of the powerful religious leaders, from Jesus to Buddha to Tibetan monks, they’re really talking about the same things: love and acceptance, and the value of friendship, and respecting yourself so you can respect others…”  

Now Jena Malone has appeared in a number of movies and she will soon appear in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ (Hunger Games 2). As a result I am sure that Jena knows a great deal more about acting and starring in movies than myself, as I have never starred in a movie. But in her quoted remark Ms Malone displays a great deal of ignorance about the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Applying her comment to her own profession of acting, to say that Jesus Christ essentially teaches the same things as ‘a lot of the (other) powerful religious teachers’ is like saying that – because they are both actors – three-time best actor academy award winner Daniel Day-Lewis produces the same kinds of movies as Pee-wee Herman.

I had in mind to outline my own exposition of the teachings of Christ when I realised that one of my favourite Christian authors, CS Lewis, has already done so, and because he speaks on this topic so eloquently I have decided to reproduce what he said about the teachings of Jesus Christ below.

“What are we to make of Jesus Christ? This is a question which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Jesus Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Jesus in the sense of “How are we to solve the historical problem set before us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?”

This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find that when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, “I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity” – and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of Jesus and of His immediate followers, moral truth is exhibited at its purest and best. It is not sloppy idealism; it is full of wisdom and shrewdness. The whole thing is realistic, fresh to the highest degree, the product of a sane mind. That is one phenomenon.

The other phenomenon is the quite appalling nature of Jesus Christ’s theological remarks. I want to stress the appalling claim this Man seems to be making is not merely made at one moment of His career. There is, of course, the one moment which led to His execution. The moment at which the High Priest said to Him, “Who are you?”, and Jesus replied, “I am the Anointed, the Son of the uncreated God, and you shall see Me appearing at the end of all history as the judge of the Universe”.

But that claim, in fact, does not rest on this one dramatic moment. When you look into His conversation, you will find this sort of claim running through the whole thing. For instance, He went about saying to people, “I forgive your sins.” Now it is quite natural for a man to forgive something you do to him. Thus if somebody cheats me out of £5, it is quite possible and reasonable for me to say, “Well, I forgive him, we will say no more about it.” But what on earth would you say if somebody had done you out of £5 and I said, “That’s all right, I forgive him”?

Then there is a curious thing which seems to slip out almost by accident. On one occasion Jesus is sitting looking down on Jerusalem from the hill above it and suddenly He makes an extraordinary remark – “I keep on sending you prophets and wise men.” Nobody comments on it, and yet, quite suddenly – almost incidentally – He is claiming to be the power that all through the centuries is sending wise men and leaders into the world.

Here is another curious remark: in almost every religion there are unpleasant observances such as giving alms, abstinence from food and fasting and the like. Yet this Man suddenly remarks one day, “No one need fast while I am here.” Who is this Man who remarks that His mere presence suspends all normal rules? Who is the person who can suddenly tell the School that they can have a half-holiday?

Sometimes the statements put forward the assumption that He, the Speaker, is completely without sin or fault. This is always His attitude. “You, to whom I am speaking, are all sinners,” and He never remotely suggests that this same reproach can be brought against Him. He says again, “I am begotten of the One God, before Abraham was, I am,” and remember what the words “I am” were in Hebrew. They were the name of God, which must not be spoken by any human being, the name which it was death to utter.

Well, that is the other side. On the one side clear, definite moral teaching. On the other, claims which – if not true – are those of a megalomaniac, compared with whom Hitler was the most sane and humble of men. There is no half-way house and there is no parallel in other religions.

If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, “Are you the son of Bramah?” he would have said, “My son, you are still in the vale of illusion.” If you had gone to Socrates and asked, “Are you Zeus?” he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Mohammed and asked, “Are you Allah?” he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked Confucius, “Are you heaven?” I think he would probably have replied, “Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste.”

The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question. In my opinion, the only person who can say what Jesus said is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man. If you think you are a poached egg when you are looking for a piece of toast to suit you, you may be sane; but if you think you are God, there is no chance for you.

We may note in passing that Jesus was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three effects – Hatred – Terror -Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval…”

At this Easter season may we all clearly see who Jesus really is and take time to read what He really said about life and about Himself, in order that we may come to “know the truth, and the truth will set us free…” 

Bryce – Fit 4 Life Staff

Bryce

 

 

 

Finance – A Helping Hand

This year, my husband and I are having to stick to a pretty tight budget. Ugh! Hate that, but in the long run it will be a good thing.

Traditionally, Bryce has done our accounts, kept track of the budget and let me know when things get too crazy. However, due to some other things going on in our life, I’ve sort of taken over some of the workload.

Since I really enjoy being on the computer and already use Xero.com for our business accounts, I thought we could investigate using it for our personal accounts. For a reasonable price each year we’re able to have live feed of our bank accounts into our existing Xero.com profile and I have been able to manage our transactions and expenses all from my computer.

If you’re looking for something to help give you a little more control, then have a look at Xero.com. It’s not perfect…there’s definitely room for improvement, but it is great to have a browser based accounts package that I can access anywhere on any computer at anytime.

Happy Budgeting!

Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff

Christy

Faith – Studying the Bible

As a Christian, my beliefs and values are based on the Bible, but it can be a difficult book to understand.

Recently I found this resource. It is a good place for personal Bible studies or group studies. If you click on the link, you will see a column to the right, and under ‘Bibly Study Schedule’, there are four books of the Bible listed currently- this is a free resource.

However if this is all new to you and you simply want to start reading the bible, here’s a good article that might make it less intimidating.

Jason – Fit 4 Life Staff

Jason