The other day, I was hanging with my “other” family—a close-knit family that I love dearly and is incredibly close to my heart. The mother and daughter were having an honest conversation about something when the daughter essentially said, “Mom, every time you don’t do this, you make me feel guilty. I need you to do something else so that I won’t feel guilty.” The mother said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help that what I do makes you feel guilty.” I nodded in agreement with the mother, because she was right: her daughter was placing responsibility for her feelings with someone else.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned through my journey towards health is about authentic responsibilities. What are authentic responsibilities? These are the honest, real assessments that only we can make about ourselves. The term implies the real responsibilities each person takes upon themselves and the responsibilities each of us have for our own wellbeing. Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about authentic responsibilities, which was introduced to me by Kathryn Chamberlin, a licensed social worker, while I was attending Celebrate Recovery. There are fourteen authentic responsibilities from Ms. Chamberlin that we will discuss over the next few weeks.
As we begin this incredible discussion, here are a few things to remember as you consider authentic responsibilities:
- Swallow the shallow. At first glance, these responsibilities may read as very prideful and self-absorbed. Please read them prayerfully and remember as you read them that this is not a “me first” effort but a focus on areas in which you should choose to take personal accountability in your life. Remember—if you do not make these decisions for yourself, then you are inadvertently allowing others to make them for you. If you go to a restaurant and don’t place your order, you either will not get served or you may get something that you don’t want! Choosing what you want does not make you conceited; it gives you necessary boundaries. So swallow the idea that authentic responsibilities are shallow and prideful, and embrace personal responsibility.
- Struggle sincerely. It is okay to struggle in these areas. I am not speaking as if I have mastered the art of each of these authentic responsibilities—in fact, I still struggle with many of them! There are plenty of days when I realize that I did not speak out my true feelings and caused others to guess, or I allowed someone else’s judgment of me to annoy me instead of refusing it. As with all growth, learning to take authentic responsibility is a process and a journey. Give yourself the grace to struggle with the ideas and actions that come along with accepting authentic responsibilities in your life.
- Start somewhere. While you are struggling sincerely, seeing fourteen areas of authentic responsibility may be overwhelming. In addition, realizing the areas that you need to work on may be depressing! I remember feeling weighed down by the volume of areas and my need to work. But then I remembered to cut myself some slack, and I asked the Lord to show me where to begin. He did. He will do the same for you, if only you will ask. Take Him along on your journey and He will make sure that you continue the work He has started in you.
Are you ready to take on more authentic responsibilities for yourself? Let the journey begin!
What are your ideas about authentic responsibilities that each person should have? Share in the comments below or use my Contact Me page to send your ideas and/or schedule a 30-minute Identity Intensive!