image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young / freedigitalphotos.net
I want to close out this series on authentic responsibilities by giving you a list of all fourteen authentic responsibilities. Reading them all together in a list challenges me: I have the list printed out and posted on my wall as a reminder of my responsibilities to myself and others. I’m still working on all of these, especially clear communication and letting others know my thoughts and feelings. But the most important part is that I know what I should be doing and that I am working to improve them each and every day. Don’t let this list overwhelm you! Instead, my prayer is that you have been challenged to become more authentically responsible in your own life. Open the gift of one authentic responsibility and experience the difference–there’s no time like the present! (See what I did there? HAHA!)
I alone am responsible for judging (evaluating, assessing) me – my motives (intent, needs, feelings, spirituality, abilities, intelligence, priorities, values) and to determine any adjectives that describe me. Therefore, I may refuse any judgment of me.
I am not obligated to answer to a human being for why I do what I do (to justify my behaviors). That type of self-disclosure is a gift.
I have the responsibility to choose whether I offer help for other people’s problems. I make my own commitments; no one can obligate me to that which I’m not committed.
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.
As a human being, I will make mistakes. I am responsible to make appropriate restitution which may include expressions of regret or sorrow, but not guilt.
As a human being, I will sometimes not know the answer to a question. I am responsible to say “I don’t know,” continue respecting myself, and not accept any disrespect for “not knowing.”
As a human being, I will sometimes act in a way that has unforeseen negative consequences for another. I am responsible for my own contributing to those consequences without requiring myself to have had prior knowledge I didn’t have.
As a human being, I will make some decisions that others may describe as illogical. I am responsible to make decisions according to all my senses, including my sense of logic.
When I do not understand any type of communication, I am responsible to ask for clarification without apology.
I am responsible for deciding if and what I want to improve about me and responsible to refuse any disrespect for me about not caring to improve in a particular way.
Authentic Responsibility #11: I am responsible to decide what is right for me and what is important to me.
image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net
Last week, I wrote about clarity in communication and a situation in which I needed to have a conversation with a guy. I noted that it was time for me to buck up and pray about the opportunity to have that conversation, which I did. What I also did, however, was talk to several different friends about the situation and what was happening, unintentionally soliciting advice from all of them about what I should do. By yesterday, I had basically come unglued. I had several sets of advice to choose from, had already had another incident with the guy, and literally was crying out of frustration and stress. As I explained my craziness to a friend, she told me that I should only do what I think is right and then listen to what God is telling me. She gave this great advice right before she began a short diatribe on what she would do if she was in my situation. Luckily, she is an incredible friend—and she realized what she was doing just as I was about to point it out!
We all have well-meaning friends who don’t like to see us suffering and struggling. However, authentic responsibility #11 points out the important truth that you are the only one who can decide what is right and what is important for you. Here are two reasons why this is true:
You know you best. Whether it is your career path, your relationships, or your next meal, you know yourself better than anyone else. This is why self-awareness is so important! Only you can know your motives, your feelings, and your desires. As for me, this morning, I concluded that I have feelings for my guy friend—and I’m scared of rejection, so I’ve planned to set up walls and boundaries to avoid getting hurt. But I also know that in love, I am afraid to take risks. So I know I have to open myself up, be vulnerable, and take a chance—because that is the exact thing I’m afraid to do. And though others may see that about me, I frequently hide it behind the pushy prophet girl. (I know I do that, too!) Knowing yourself is the first step to truly knowing God and others. As Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD.” First, look at yourself, then look to the Lord because…
God knows you better. I did not come to this morning’s conclusion about myself on a whim. I was praying, reading my Bible, and journaling when I realized what was going on within me, and it was revealed because I asked the One knows everything about me. Psalm 139 says that God “made all the delicate, inner parts of me and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” That means He knows my desires, my motives, and my heart better than I ever could, because He is my Creator and my Father. Understanding that God knows every intricate detail about me encourages me to seek Him! Psalm 139:23 tells us that we can ask God to search us, try us, and know our anxious thoughts—and when we do that, we learn more about ourselves and God than we can imagine! So I urge you to not only seek self-awareness, but seek God, the One who knows you better than you know yourself. He will help you decide what is right for you and important to you.
Knowing what is right for you and what is important to you requires knowing yourself and knowing God. Become more authentically responsible by pursuing self-awareness and God-awareness, starting today!
What are some ways you can begin to pursue increased self-awareness and increased God-awareness?