Sunday, November 14, 2010

leave it in the valley

Remember when you were a little kid, and you had someone you just really admired? You looked at them and thought "I want to be like ___ when I grow up" ? Maybe it was a teacher, or a TV show character (Hey Aunt Becky Hey). Have you lost that feeling?

I’ve always believed in the importance of mentoring. Not just in the structured sense, like Big Brothers Big Sisters or through a school program, but just in general. People often associate mentoring with kids, but that is not the kind of mentoring I am talking about tonight.I am talking about having someone to look up to, no matter what age you are. We could all use a little guidance, the important part is having a person that is going through a similar life experience, or has already been through it, to look to for advice.

I have different mentors for areas of my life. For faith, it is Mrs. MacLennan. Writing, Mr. Schusterbaur and two great friends of mine, Shari and Jena. For motivation, encouragement, faith, perseverance, Melinda. In addition, I am faced with two daily challenges: my weight loss journey and anxiety. I have (thankfully) plenty of people in my life whom I can turn to for support, but there is one person who I look to as a role model and a guide in both of these areas: Mandisa.

Mandisa has been known to publicly share her struggle with her weight and anxiety. In fact, she wrote a book about it, and I owe a lot of my success to her. It was not until I read her book that I even grasped what was going on in my own life. Before I read it I thought I was completely alone, constantly wondering “what’s wrong with me?”. Mandisa’s story helped me to begin to rewrite my own.

Since then, she has been a constant source of support. I have been lucky enough to be able to communicate with her, through myspace, twitter, and different events. She has been an absolute blessing in my life, and definitely a mentor. I look to her for many things- encouragement, recipes, exercise tips, scripture, and, obviously, music. Her music has gotten me through my toughest days, and I can also rely on her tweets to get me through my challenges. She tells us when she is struggling, she reports when she has a good day. She keeps me going on my own routine. Every single day is a challenge, but knowing that Mandisa is going through the exact same thing is a huge motivation. By the way, homegirl has lost nearly 100 pounds and looks amazing. I am so proud of her for all of her accomplishments, both internal and external!

Mandisa spreads her story. She shares it every weekend with hundreds of women at Women of Faith events across the country. I know that she is making an impact on so many lives, and I am really quite grateful to be one of them. By now she knows what she means to me, but I always like to remind her. :)

So please allow yourself to look up to someone. We don’t have to be little kids to admire another person. We're all in this life together, we may as well help each other out.

Going to close with a song by...well, Mandisa.

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