How much of our time and energy do we devote to things that we cannot control? The weighty burden of it all. If only we could DO SOMETHING about____________. But we can’t. So why do we even try? Oh, to reclaim the lost hours of sleep, worry, resentment, frustration, and the whole mess!
In a world of demands, debts, and deadlines, here are 5 things that you are NOT responsible for:
1. What was done to you
2. His happiness
3. Her opinion of you
4. Your grown children’s choices, or your parents’ choices
5. Your upbringing
Take a moment and consider just these 5 things. It’s not a long list, and there are probably dozens more to add, but this is a start.
For me, for years, I misplaced responsibility that belonged to someone else upon myself. Often I would struggle to understand why so and so is not happy, or how come this or that person does not like me.
Here’s the thing.
We are not responsible for that which we cannot control.
So we are not responsible for other people’s choices or opinions. We may love them deeply. They may be kindred, even. But they are not our responsibility.
Other than children under my care, the only person I am responsible for is ME.
I can pray.
I can communicate my pain. I can and should forgive. But I may not be able to change anything. And that is okay, because I am not responsible, anyway.
And you aren’t either.
The one thing we are responsible for, though, is our own personal integrity. And this is what others are not responsible for. O.S. Hawkins recently said, “Integrity is your most valuable commodity in ministry.” How true this is. I fondly remember a high school teacher of mine saying, “Integrity is doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.” We may give our all to a cause, a place, and a people, but if we cannot keep our word, remain loyal, or be trusted then what are we even doing? If we focus more on what we can control we will live free and fulfilling lives of purpose.
Cultivating our own personal character instead of pulling the strings of other people and circumstances will enable us to become the people God is creating us to be. We will be a people no longer in bondage to people-pleasing, anxiety, guilt, anger, or envy, but we will be a people walking in victory in the righteousness of Christ, pressing more and more into His person and power. Let’s be responsible for what we can control, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for God is working in us to will and work for His good pleasure (see Phil. 2:12-13). And the key to all this is that God is the one who works in us and through us. He oversees our lives and enables us to grow in His grace. Let’s be under God’s control and walk in the freedom that can only be found in Him.