In the same way that 15th century artists depicted beauty in the fullness of figures, I've found a new appreciation for the term, "fat." Several years ago now, I heard a previous pastor of mine talk about the need to be F.A.T. in order to be a successful leader. Faithful, Available, Teachable. I've found that the same principles apply to life in general. I've also discovered that these qualities are almost as difficult for me as maintaining good eating & exercise habits!
Being Faithful is so easy in concept. The kicker on this one is that it is a "time will tell" principle (also taken from Pastor Williams). Being faithful in something for a very short time is, well, not that impressive. I've often said that I could do just about anything for a short period of time, and that's often as long as I last. It's when we can be faithful for the long haul that matters. Faithfulness is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and thus can only really be mastered by the Spirit-led person (as mastered as humanly possible!). It is a difficult thing to be faithful in trying circumstances, but even David as he ran for his life encourages us to "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD." He was convinced, and rightfully so, that "The LORD preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer." (Psalm 31:24, 23b)
Availability is a little easier for me right now, sort-of. I like to plan my life to be easy-going. This doesn't necessarily mean I want to use my free time in service. In fact, just today I spent a fair amount of time making calls and arrangements for a firewood ministry my husband leads. He is busy right now with work, but I am available. I admit it isn't as fun to spend hours on the phone planning logistics, but I am glad I can help. It is obedience.
Teachability is probably my hardest one to master. When I enter a new field of interest, I cannot wait to consume all the information possible. I love to become an expert on things that interest me. Other things, not so much. Just ask my husband. Unfortunately, I am not good at feigning interest and consequently, my poor attitude often prohibits any information from sinking in. I tend to give the blank look and angrily give up before the lesson is over. That is not a quality of being teachable! Just like being faithful throughout the difficult times, I believe being teachable is necessary in the less than desirable times.