Tag Archives: authentic responsibility

That Lyin’ Pride: Me Me Me

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

It’s been a hard summer. I’ve experienced some hurt at the hands of others, and recently, one of those friends reached out to me to get together before she moves away. I had reached out to her to meet and she had said she would like that and had to “check her schedule” and get back to me. However, she never got back to me. Weeks went by, and she sent me some other communications, but nothing about getting together. I was really hurt but had felt as if I had been the one who had given relentlessly in the relationship, so I refused to remind her about my invitation to get together. Then a few days ago, she let me know she wanted to get together before she moved. I looked at my phone when I got the message, and promptly typed, “I would like that. Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” I then promptly waited 24 hours before attempting to set up a time to meet with her. As I reflect on my actions, I realize that instead of being loving, I was listening to the voice of pride.

One of the loudest thing pride says to us is that “everything is all about me.” It is easy to see pride’s “me me me” attitude when we are simply making choices that revolve around us.  However, when we are hurting, that is when pride makes its biggest moves. It begins to tell us that our feelings are the most important. We have all been there—in that place where we want others to feel what we are feeling, to experience the hurt that they have doled out to us. That’s what I wanted to happen in my situation with my friend. I wanted to prove a point; I wanted her to realize that I was doing to her what she did to me. I wanted her to understand my pain. Instead of focusing on restoration, I was focused on justice. And while justice is one of God’s traits, He tells us that vengeance belongs to Him (Romans 12:9). Pride, though, tells me that I should be the one who avenges my feelings and tries to make the other person pay.

So how can I fight the prideful attitude of me me me? James 4:6 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” It is difficult for me to give grace when I am hurting because I’m so focused on my own feelings. But I think one of the things that I tend to forget is that grace is the counter action to pride. I know the opposite of pride is humility, but how can I practice humility? This Bible verses says that God gives us grace when we are humble…so I think we have to practice humility by giving more grace as God gives to us. The right thing, the graceful thing for me to do with my friend would have been to answer her other texts and love her as I’ve always loved her. Even though my pride says that I’ve given far more than I’ve received in this relationship, grace tells me to depend on the Lord for strength to give even more. When pride says to wait for her to respond, grace tells me to seek her out continually, just as the Lord continues to seek me out—because as I continue to do these things, I becomes less like my flesh and more like Christ.

I’m not saying this is easy—as you can see, I still struggle with the right way to handle relationships and the best ways to fight pride in my life. But one thing I do know is that I want to receive more grace from God—and in order to receive grace, I must give grace. And if it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), I want to give more grace and less pride.

How can you give more grace and, in turn, fight pride in your life?

That Lyin’ Pride: Did I Do That?

peacocks by tina phillips

image courtesy of Tina Phillips / freedigitalphotos.net

I saw a friend last night whose son was recently arrested in a neighboring state (where he lived) for driving while under the influence of heroin. The son went to rehab—for the second time this year—and charges are pending for him in that state. Last night, the son was with my friend as we mutually did a service project together. I struck up a conversation with the son, asking him how he was doing and how his wife and three young girls were handling life. He was upbeat, noting that they were moving into the area from the neighboring state. Some things he said included, “Man, they are trying to put me in jail in that state! I had to get out of there!” “My job was just too stressful. I need to do something less stressful.” “I was on the road too much. I just need to drive less and work less hours.” I nodded and smiled, but inside, my stomach turned. In that short conversation, I wondered if I was talking to someone who was truly ready for a full recovery. My heart grieved a bit, since as a former addict, I remembered being there myself many times facing my biggest enemy: pride.

Los Angeles Lakers player Jeremy Lin recently said that the biggest sin he struggled with was pride. I agree with Lin’s assessment, but not for the same reasons that he likely said it. I agree with him because pride is actually the basis for every sin that we commit. And in that case, everyone’s biggest sin is pride, because every sin is a direct result of our belief that we know better than God—the very definition of pride. I wanted to write this series on pride because pride is so prevalent in our lives–especially mine. So let’s talk about the subtle ways pride whispers into our ears and causes us to sin.

One of the loudest things pride says to us is, “It ain’t my fault.” (Did I do that?) This lie is especially a problem for addicts. We tend to blame everyone else—our family, our job, stress, our past, our desires—we will do anything possible to not take the blame for our issues. Sometimes we blame others, sometimes we even blame God (“He never should have given me these desires!”, says the porn addict). But the key to silencing this prideful voice is personal responsibility. We make our own choices, and we need to admit our mistakes. The Bible says that if we do, God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:9). Taking responsibility for your actions is one of the best lessons you can learn, as a child AND as an adult. When you make a mistake, you should own up to it, not blame others or your circumstances. My friend’s son spoke nothing of his own misdeeds—he did not own up his mistake of choosing illegal drugs. Instead, he blamed “the system” for what it wanted to do to him and his job for being too stressful and too mobile.

However, when we are ready to be healthy, when we are ready to move forward in life, it’s no longer about blame or making static, circumstantial changes—it’s about accepting responsibility so that real change can take place inside you. You see it in the eyes of every addict who has moved beyond blame and into accountability. They begin to make better choices about things that really matter. They are no longer afraid to admit their mistakes—because humility has assured them that to err is human. If the first step is admitting that you have a problem, then silencing this prideful voice is where most people begin in recovery.

Pride is sneaky, and it shows up in every area of our lives. That’s why we have to be aware of its many voices, dialects, and sounds. As we continue to break down our pride, both in this series and in our lives, may God make us more discerning about how to increase our humility and become more like Him!

What are some other ways pride says, “It ain’t my fault?”

Authentic Responsibilities: That’s a Wrap!

wrap up presents by Boians Cho Joo Young

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!)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. When I do not understand any type of communication, I am responsible to ask for clarification without apology.
  10. 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.
  11. I am responsible to decide what is right for me and what is important to me.
  12. I am responsible for letting others know how I feel and what I think, instead of requiring them to read my mind.
  13. I am responsible for expressing myself without disrespecting the other and, when I do, to seek forgiveness and make plans to avoid repeating the disrespect.
  14. I am responsible to require courtesy and respect toward me.

Kathryn Chamberlin, LCSW-C

Authentic Responsibilities: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Authentic Responsibility #14: I am responsible to require courtesy and respect toward me. 

respect by PinkBlue

image courtesy of PinkBlue / freedigitalphotos.net

For three years, I worked in a hostile office environment with two insecure superiors who did not like each other. In addition, they spent many days belittling everyone in the office to make themselves feel better. One of my superiors especially loved calling out mistakes in front of other people in the office to make herself look and feel smarter. After three long years of being belittled, I decided that enough was enough. She called me out over something small in front of office visitors, and I took my stand. I told her that she was being rude and disrespectful and that when I made a mistake, she could quietly point it out to me instead of being so rude and condescending. This simple move made my last few weeks in the position more manageable, and I received better treatment from this coworker as a result.

President Obama may not know how to spell it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t require it for yourself! Mark 12:31 says, “You should love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving yourself—requiring respect for yourself—is an important commandment from the Lord that we should follow. So here are the ABCs of requiring courtesy and respect for yourself:

  • Ask from the start. The moment someone disrespects you (or shortly after), you should deal with it to avoid any future problems. My coworker had treated me like this since day one, and because she treated everyone this way, I allowed it. This was my fault, and I was very frustrated for three years in my job because of it. I let my coworker believe that her behavior was acceptable! However, had I addressed it from the beginning, it may have led to a more peaceful working environment and a better relationship with this coworker. When you require respect from the beginning, you can build a base on which relationships thrive.
  • Be strong and courageous. It can be hard to tell someone that you don’t like the way they treat you. However, the Lord is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9)—even into difficult conversations with people about how they behave toward us. Although I addressed my coworker’s behavior late, I still received the strength I needed to speak firmly and boldly to her about her actions. You can have that same power behind you through prayer and a close relationship with Christ. The Bible says that His grace is enough for us and that His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So boldly go into His presence and then have that hard conversation about getting the respect and courtesy you deserve.
  • Care for others like you want them to care for you. Mark 12:31 is an instruction about how we are to be treated as well as how we are to treat others. My coworker expected nothing but respect from me; however, when I called her out on her behavior, she left the office crying. She wanted to be able to disrespect me but be respected herself. We must remember that to get the respect and love we deserve, we have to treat others with that same respect and love. It may not come back to us through them, but it will return to us! Practice what you preach: begin to show more love and honor in your relationships (but with proper boundaries).

All relationships are a two-way street, but with proper boundaries, you can be authentically responsible and require the respect and courtesy that you deserve!

How do you require respect and courtesy toward yourself?

Authentic Responsibilities: No Disrespect

Authentic Responsibilities #13: I am responsible for expressing myself without disrespecting the other and, when I do, to seek forgiveness and make plans to avoid repeating the disrespect. 

rude polite sign by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I needed to have a difficult conversation, and I was ready to express myself. I pulled my friend aside to speak to her privately. I told her the truth with no sugar-coating: that in our ministry, no one liked her; that she was bossy; and that she needed to step back from taking over everything and allow more creativity in our group. However, I stressed that—in Christian love—she could still be a part of the group if she would just stop trying to take over. She burst into tears. I hugged her and told her I hated to bear this bad news, but since it was true, someone needed to tell her.

This situation happened in college, and obviously during that time, I was emotionally immature and didn’t handle this well. Authentic responsibility #13 focuses on expressing ourselves without disrespecting others, and apologizing when we do. However, I know better now and want to share with you three ways to conquer this authentic responsibility with ease:

  • Express your feelings only. Many of our feelings are based on ideas and thoughts that we have assumed about another person/people, not on what is reality. In my situation, I should’ve started out with, “I felt very hurt that you took over, like the established leadership was not good enough.” Notice I named the feeling and the assumption that I had made about her: that I was hurt and that my leadership wasn’t good enough. This communicates what I was feeling and gives an idea about where I stand and why. In addition, I shouldn’t have said what I thought other people thought! Focus on your own feelings and not the other person’s personality, feelings, or assumed thoughts.
  • Express yourself respectfully. I gave an example of expressing your own feelings. Some call this using “I” statements, but “I think you are dumb” and “I hate it when you…” are also “I” statements—albeit inflammatory, insensitive, and rude ones. The things I said to my friend were disrespectful and hurtful—they did not build her up or strengthen our friendship just because I was “honest.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” When you are expressing yourself, choose your words wisely and build others up—don’t tear them down.
  • Express your sincere apology. There will be times when we express ourselves in a way that is not respectful to others. I thought about doing it (purposefully) to someone this morning! We may not to WANT to express ourselves in a respectful and loving way, and sometimes, that desire is going to become a reality. When it does, however, we need to sincerely apologize to the person we have offended for being rude, hurtful, and disrespectful. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to each other so that we can be healed, so go to your brother or sister and apologize! I apologized to my friend several years later, and she was gracious and loving—and I was able to move forward in healing.

We are not always going to be perfect in this authentic responsibility—it is a constant struggle for me! However, if we keep these three ideas in mind, we can begin to mature emotionally and be authentically responsible as we express ourselves to others.

How easy is it for you to express yourself to others respectfully?

Authentic Responsibilities: You’re Not Psychic?!

Authentic Responsibility #12: I am responsible for letting others know how I feel and what I think, instead of requiring them to read my mind.

mind reader by stockimages

image courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

I knew something wasn’t right with me, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. I was really feeling disgusting and hating everyone, and my newest BFF was feeling the brunt of it. He couldn’t do anything right, every decision he made got on my nerves, and I basically was being a jerk. But I hadn’t talked to him—or anyone else—about what was going on with me, so he basically was just left to wonder. Besides, I reasoned: he should just know. He should know that I don’t feel good and that this is just a bad time for me. But he didn’t figure out my issue. And what exactly was my issue? PMS. Eventually as the week wore on, I admitted to him that I wasn’t feeling my best and I identified the culprit. “When it comes to that, you have to just tell me!” he insisted. He was right: I shouldn’t have expected him to read my mind and know my issue.

Authentic responsibility #12 is a timely reminder for me that people do not just automatically KNOW what I am thinking or feeling, and that I need to communicate with them and not be angry when they don’t read my mind. This authentic responsibility has “women” written all over it—but everyone does this! And here are a couple of ways that we can all stop expecting telepathy and start experiencing reality:

  • Be willing to say “I don’t know.” Truth be told, I didn’t know right away that I was experiencing PMS. I didn’t know what was up with me. But instead of admitting that I didn’t know, I said nothing at all. Saying “I don’t know” is its own authentic responsibility, but to refresh your memory: if you don’t know how you feel or what you think, then admit it! Sometimes we need time to figure out our thoughts and feelings on things, and that is normal. So say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” and then re-open the conversation once you have figured it out.
  • Be honest with yourself, then others. Examine your feelings to find any underlying emotion (sometimes, anger can be a secondary emotion) or issue that needs to be addressed. Once I took the time to scrutinize my feelings and my calendar, I realized what the exact issue was. Dwelling on my feelings of anger and dissatisfaction did nothing to help the situation; they intensified my negative feelings and made the situation difficult for my friends and family. However, when I took time to be honest with myself and then others, I was able to pinpoint the issue and clearly communicate my feelings, thoughts, and needs.
  • Be prepared for varied responses. Some people and situations will gladly welcome honesty about your feelings and thoughts. My friend was very glad to know that there was a reason behind my change in personality, and he asks for that honesty. Sometimes, however, people are not used to honesty or ready for it, and they will balk when they receive it. Know what you will say if they are accepting and if they are rejecting, if they are supportive or if they are uncooperative. But be wary of allowing others’ opinions and reactions to define you or your desire to communicate more effectively.

Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, But the foolishness of fools is deceit.” Be wise: seek to understand your ways and communicate to others without expecting them to read your mind, and you will find less strife awaits you!

How difficult is it for you to let others know how you feel and think?

Authentic Responsibilities: What’s Right For Me

Authentic Responsibility #11: I am responsible to decide what is right for me and what is important to me.

decide by Stuart Miles

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?

Authentic Responsibilities: No Thanks

Authentic Responsibility #10: 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.

change by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I am unashamedly loud, and I have always had a loud laugh. And I have always faced some sort of “suggestions” from my friends—mostly my Christian friends—about how I can change different parts of my bold, in-your-face, God-given personality. In one particular instance, a pastor friend of mine heard me laughing (loudly, of course) and rebuked me in front of a group of friends by saying, “How do you expect to get a man with a laugh like that?” I was embarrassed and hurt by his comment. However, he wasn’t done—he continued to criticize my personality by asking me how I thought Christian men would feel about me being a member of the Facebook group, “Sidney Crosby is a P***y.” I told him firmly that I believed that my future Christian husband would be a hockey fan and love it—and he’d better be a member of that group as well!

My life has been full of “helpful” people suggesting improvements for me by listing the things they don’t like about me or think I should change about myself. Authentic responsibility #10 reminds me that our job is to decide whether to listen to those suggestions for improvement. Here are three things to remember about the journey to self-improvement:

  • You get to decide what. My decision to ignore my pastor friend’s advice lay firmly in the fact that my identity as a child of God had nothing to do with his specific criticisms! Those were personality issues that my friend did not like—not hurts, habits, or hang-ups that were keeping me from experiencing the joy of abundant living in Christ OR from experiencing a husband. Practice self-awareness and measure carefully the improvements suggested to you—and remember to accept encouragement and edification of yourself, not destruction (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  • You get to say if (and when). Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” This means there is a time and season for you to improve yourself in certain ways! I recently experienced a season of incredible patience and heart work that God had planned for me. I had to decide to succumb to the work in me during this season. We must make our own decisions about if and when to address any issues that may be holding us back. So prayerfully ask for guidance not only about what, but if and when.
  • You get to refuse the criticism. I refused to believe that any part of my personality was keeping me from the man who God had intended for me. I rebuked my friend’s words and said no to his assessment of me. Notice that I said no to the disrespect of me, not the person! We may not love everyone’s opinion of us, but we should love them no matter. After all, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” (Anais Nin). My friend’s assessment reflected his likes and dislikes, not me. Refuse any disrespect for not changing, and do so with love.

The Bible says wise people listen to constructive criticism and correction given them (Ecclesiastes 7:5; Proverbs 15:31), but they also prayerfully consider what, if, and when to make changes in their lives. Be authentically responsible and choose wisdom!

When has someone suggested you make a change in your life? What was your response?

Authentic Responsibilities: Just So We’re Clear…

Authentic Responsibility #9: When I do not understand any type of communication, I am responsible to ask for clarification without apology.

questions by dream designs

image courtesy of dream designs / freedigitalphotos.net

I’m struggling writing this because this is the most difficult of the authentic responsibilities for me. In fact, I’m in a situation now that is basically a result of me not following this authentic responsibility, a result of me not being clear with my communication and not asking for clarity when I don’t know. There’s this guy I know who, every time he touches me, entangles me emotionally and keeps me hung up for weeks. I like and respect him in so many ways, but even more, I feel a deep connection with him from my end that leaves me wrecked and confused every time we interact. And the wrecked, confused me knows that my wrecked confusion is my fault because I haven’t been authentically responsible by asking for or giving clarification about our non-verbal communications. In addition, I have continued to make assumptions in my mind about what is really happening in these exchanges—which is nothing, because I know that he is a mercy gift who needs touch and, understanding this, I allow it. The truth is, something is happening to me: I’m attached to him and going crazy.

Authentic responsibility #9 says that we should seek clarification for any type of communication that we do not understand. Proverbs 28:26 says, “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” Leaning not to our own understanding is central to this responsibility, and here are a two ways to swallow your pride and walk safely in wisdom:

  • When in doubt, ask. When you don’t know what is going on, the logical thing to do is to ask for clarification as soon as there’s a question. Don’t wait—just do it! Quite honestly, this is exactly what I should be doing in my situation. But the hold up is pride masked as fear—fear of the response. Will they think I’m stupid? Will they laugh at me for being vulnerable? The answer is maybe. The reality is who cares! You are not responsible for what they think of you; you are responsible for only accepting those judgments of you that YOU think are valid. You are not stupid, and vulnerability is beautiful. So throw off fear and pride and ask for clarification—without apology. 
  • When not in doubt, ask anyway! Sometimes, we apply our own understanding to the situation and it ends up being wrong. In my current situation, I’m assuming that nothing is happening behind these non-verbal exchanges—but I really don’t know if that’s true. And even if I’m right, the best scenario is to confirm it, not assume it. A good waiter who takes your order at a restaurant will read it back to you to make sure he got it right. He is confirming, even though he may not be in doubt about what you ordered. If you appreciate that with your food, imagine how much others would appreciate you confirming what you hear them say, what they need, or what you mean in your verbal and non-verbal communications. Imagine a world with fewer communication errors: it’s a safer, wiser place to live, isn’t it?

Proverbs 18:2 says, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Don’t be a fool! Seek understanding in your communications with others. Now if you all will excuse me, I must go pray for the opportunity to have a difficult, clarifying conversation.

When have you needed clarification about a communication with someone? How did you get it?

Authentic Responsibilities: That’s Illogical

Authentic Responsibility #8: 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.

chessboard logic by cooldesign

image courtesy of cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net

I had thought and prayed about it for a few months. I knew God was calling me to make a drastic change in my life, and I was pretty sure this was it. I had not shared my decision with many folks because I wanted to remain faithful and pure to what God was telling me. But I wanted to share this decision with a Christian coworker that had mentored me through the past few years in my high-stress office. When I visited, I explained that I wanted to go part-time at my company, hopefully finding a job that would allow me to have a small income while I started my business as a leadership and life coach. He was not as supportive as I had hoped. He told me that it was an unreasonable decision to take a more than 50% pay cut without having any other guaranteed income, that even though I hated my job it would be smarter to say, and that starting a business was tough and that I should do so while working full-time. I left his office disappointed—but still reassured in the decision I needed to make.

Authentic responsibility #8 says that sometimes, each of us will make decisions that seem illogical to others, but that our sense of logic may be different from others’. Here are two things to remember about making “illogical” decisions:

  • Make decisions according to your senses. Key word here is “your.” You should not make decisions based on what other people see, hear, and feel because your unique experiences and abilities will determine a different outcome than others. My friend had always had a steady job in our company and a distinct career goal since college. I had been in several career paths while God built my résumé for the next step in His plan. Wayne’s abilities and experiences differed from mine, and therefore, he would have taken different steps than I did—and that’s okay! It was important for me to understand that this decision God was asking me to make was about what God wanted to do in and through me, not what He wanted to do in and through others.
  • Remember God’s thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. Your senses include not only what you observe using your eyes and ears and your feelings, but also according to your spiritual senses—by reading the Word and seeking God in prayer. Jeremiah 55:8 says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” I spent many months seeking God about the next step in my life, and though it was illogical, it made sense for me to obey God’s instructions. The Bible is full of examples of God working in crazy, illogical ways: Abraham having a child at age 100, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, one man—Jesus—dying to save the lives of all. These are a few ways in which God spoke or worked, many times in the lives of regular humans like you and me, that seemed unreasonable or even irrational. But that is God. So when you are asking for wisdom when making a decision, remember that God’s answer may not sound anything like your own—but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong!

Logic is in the eye of the beholder—and you are the beholder! Backed by Godly wisdom, let your decisions be marked with the grace and “logic” of God—the logic that saw Peter walk on water and Lazarus raised from the grave!

What illogical decisions have you made using Godly wisdom?