Authentic Responsibility #4: I am responsible for taking care of me and appropriately assisting those I’m committed to. I will sometimes change my mind. My new choice does not have to be justified and does not indicate that I have chosen irresponsibly.
Last January, I decided to pursue a career in coaching by taking a class through the Christian Coach Institute. It was a weekly class for four months with about 8–10 hours of homework each week. I was excited about this new time in my life, but I knew that being in class while working full-time at an incredibly stressful job would place a lot of pressure on me and my relationships. I told my friends in advance that they would be seeing less of me until I was done with class. Most of my friends were supportive of this new career move for me and understood my being “invisible” for a few months. One of my friends, however, did not like me not being around, even though it was only temporary. Eventually, he expressed that it was unacceptable that I could not hang out with him on his timetable and abruptly ended our friendship via text message.
There are times in our lives when circumstances will change and cause our focus, friendships, and faith to evolve. Authentic responsibility #4 speaks to those times and reminds us of three key things:
- I am responsible for taking care of me and those I’m committed to. In my situation, I knew that taking on the extra responsibility of taking a class in order to change my career meant seeing less of my friends. I let them know and asked for their patience. However, my primary responsibility was to take care of myself to ensure that I would remain emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as well as focused on my class—no one else was going to do that for me. I also readjusted and communicated my commitments to my friends and followed through on any obligations that I made.
- I’m allowed to change my mind. During this time of transition, I changed my mind about some of the friendships I had and made different decisions. Ending friendships was not a decision I made lightly, as there was some natural paring down that occurs when life transitions take place. What we have to remember is that we do have the ability and the right to change our minds about how we feel, act, and think about ourselves and others. And while the Lord never changes His mind, I’m thankful that humans can do so—and grow in the process.
- Changing my mind doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible. Changing my mind about my obligations to people is a huge deal for me, and I was definitely hurt by my friend’s insistence that we do things on his timetable or not at all. However, I also believed that my decision was not selfish but self-caring. I wanted to do well in my class and I wanted to stay well, both of which are responsibilities that no other person can or will take for me. What it seems like to someone else is not necessarily truth for you. Remember to take everything to God in prayer and line it up with Scripture.
Richard Bach said, “You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.” You can change your mind about your commitments, your obligations, and your responsibilities, but only you can be responsible for yourself.
When have you changed your mind about your commitments or obligations to yourself or others?