"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some have the habit of doing, but encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
At the end of each year, Jill and I pray about where God wants us to focus for the next year. For 2024, it was clear that God was asking us to encourage and equip you to Choose to Keep Going. Once this was clear to us, we began a process to continue seeking and learning how best to deliver this message.
One thing I noticed in my seeking was the phrase “never give up.” This phrase kept popping up time and time again on social media, t-shirts, mugs, you name it. Isn’t it interesting how God can confirm what He is asking of us? I felt He was definitely confirming that this was the message that is needed in the crazy and difficult world we live in.
One of the first movies that popped into our minds that depicted the idea of never giving up is Rocky. What a great movie with so many life lessons.
Now, what is strange about Jill and I coming up with the Rocky movie is that we really dislike boxing. I mean, really, why does anyone want to watch one person punch another person, hurting them until they are unable to stand, bruised, bleeding, and seeing double? That is just crazy!
As I said, it’s more about the life lessons this movie teaches versus the boxing. One of the lessons I want to focus on here from the move is “find your Adrian.”
Adrian was Rocky's beloved partner. She teaches us the value of love and support. She provides him with the encouragement and belief he needs to face the challenges ahead. Rocky and Adrian both had very difficult backgrounds. They both grew up as underdogs, and yet they really “saw” each other for who they are.
What an awesome feeling, finding someone who sees and loves you for who you are.
God calls us to seek our own Adrian.
My friend, if you haven’t found your Adrian, I encourage you to seek and pray that God brings you someone who motivates and stands by you in your toughest times.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens the face of his neighbor."
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
“Iron sharpens iron,” is saying that people should be questioning, encouraging, coaching, and challenging each other. That is exactly what Rocky and Adrian did.
There is a scene in the movie in which Adrian's brother, Paulie, asks Rocky:
Paulie: You like her?
Rocky: Sure, I like her.
Paulie: What's the attraction?
Rocky: I dunno, she fills gaps.
Paulie: What's “gaps?"
Rocky: I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.
Rocky is not an eloquent man, but his answer speaks for itself. Adrian and Rocky complement each other perfectly.
Who compliments you perfectly? Who fills in your gaps?
The world is a place that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I hope I didn’t burst your bubble with that reality! Although, I’m guessing you have witnessed that as well.
Life will keep knocking us to the ground, but what I want to remember is another Rocky quote that it’s not how hard I am hit, it’s about how hard I am hit and keep moving forward.
I personally was hit with this reality within a 2-week time span in December. Right before Christmas, my husband contracted influenza A and was taken to the ER. He then came down with the stomach flu and was so dehydrated we made another trip to the ER. We also had to make the decision to put one of our horses down due to cancer. I had surgery for cervical neck fusion. My father-in-law passed away, and mother-in-law was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Reality was, I definitely wasn’t seeing sunshine and roses at this point. In fact, I felt the one two punch and was knocked out for the count!
I was so blessed to have my “Adrian(s).” I am beyond grateful for the community of friends and church family that God has blessed me with and who walk with me in this life!
Because of this community, even when life hit hard, I was able to keep moving forward. Their prayers, calls, texts, food and flowers brought light to the dark days as I felt God's love through them.
God does not expect us to do things on our own in this life. That's why He gave us the greatest commandment to love one another and the Biblical wisdom shared throughout His word, such as in Hebrews 10:24 and Proverbs 27:17 above.
The right community provides us with the prayer, friendship, fellowship, and encouragement we need to keep going. They fill our gaps, and we fill theirs.
If you don't have that in your life right now, I pray you find your Adrian.
With blessings and joy,