Freedom Through Responsibility

Reading Level: Impassioned

To some, this title sounds like an oxymoron-complete opposites-yet taking responsibility for your actions and decisions can actually set you free.

A large portion of the balance of our lives is dependent on what we are and are not responsible for. Becoming aware of where we have or have not drawn boundaries with our chosen responsibilities can bring some startling realizations as to the sources of needless stress, irritation, and resentments. Two recent situations drew my attention to this concept.

The initial way to Freedom through Responsibility is to be content with the decisions you make as to your level of responsibility.

The first situation that made me aware of this principle was taking place in my own life. I was feeling resentful and becoming quite negative about a particular organization with which we work at times that was not being well run by the leadership. I would probably have released my frustration by sitting down and giving them input on a few key things that were affecting their effectiveness, as I had knowledge in that area. However, this past month was so hectic that I chose not to invest my personal time into that situation, deciding the people could probably learn from their own mistakes. I realized this week, however, that I was not taking responsibility for my own decision. Since I had chosen not to take from my time the volume of time needed to give input to that organization’s leadership, I needed to be content with that decision to let them learn from their own mistakes, and choose not to be irritated by the lack of effectiveness of the present leadership.

People often clutter their lives with irritation and resentment either by (1) choosing to take on too many “extra curricular” responsibilities in what would otherwise be their free time and then resenting the people involved or (2) not choosing to be content with the boundaries they set. The first often happens with people in any type of rescue work or those with a co-dependent personality who feel they always need to be “rescuing” something or someone. The wise decision is to limit optional responsibilities to a level you will be happy with. If you are feeling irritated or resentful, you need to cut back with these optional responsibilities and then be happy with your decision. The other source of irritation and resentment is what I was experiencing, choosing not to be involved in someone else’s problem and then allowing myself to be irritated and resentful with the delays involved to more effectiveness in the organization while the people learn their lessons themselves. The first scenario is by far the most common.

The secondary way to Freedom through Responsibility is to be aware of which responsibilities in life are truly yours!

In one situation, a friend has lost his health and career due to taking on responsibilities of other family members that they should have done for themselves. At this point, he only sees that he was trying to be helpful. He feels that he has lost everything by doing what was right. He is suffering due to a false view of responsibility. You are responsible, first, to your gift of life, including your own health and purpose or career. As your primary focus is responsibility to yourself and life purpose, you will, first, free yourself from wastes of time and energy and, second, be a more valuable contributor to society as a whole because you are a healthy, balanced person who is fully living out his or her life purpose.

Taking on responsibilities that are not yours violates scriptural principles as well as your own purpose of existence.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the quote that many people use to justify taking on responsibilities that are not theirs or expecting others to take their responsibilities. Scripture says in Gal. 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens.” People misinterpret that to mean any problem someone else does not want to deal with. First, the quote must be studied in the original language as it is rarely correctly translated into English, and, second, the quote must be taken in context. The word, “burdens” in 6:2 refers to a boulder-type obstacle, something impossible for an individual to handle. It is a situation that needs outside assistance; still, realize that you as an individual cannot handle the problem on your own instead of the person either, so this negates the other person’s excuse for you solving his problems. In the same context, verse 5 says, “for each one should carry his own load.” “Load” in the original Greek means a difficulty comparable to a backpack. In other words, before God every person is responsible for the problems he or she can carry himself or herself.

Two other quotes are important with regard to personal responsibility. In 2 Thes. 3:10, it says, “We gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ ” The obvious point from this quote is that you should not be giving handouts to someone who refuses to be a productive member of society. A similar analogy to all of life’s responsibilities is that someone not willing to work or take care of his or her individual responsibilities should not be receiving from someone else’s work the benefits he would have received for doing the responsibilities himself. It may sound harsh, but it is not. It is a safety rule set up by God for both people’s lives-the person prone to take and the person prone to give. To add someone else’s responsibilities to your own and thereby give them the results of your labor, “eating” in the above passage, is to violate another spiritual law-that of sowing and reaping. Gal. 6:7 states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” It is an analogy to farming. If a person takes responsibility to plant corn, and fertilize, and water, he should “reap” or eat of the harvest-the results of his responsibility. If he was too lazy to plant the corn, or planted it and then gave up on his responsibilities, he should “reap” what he planted-nothing.

The law of sowing and reaping is a God-given personal safety law.

If you continue to take on the responsibilities of the irresponsible person, and then giving them the results of your work, you put yourself on a path to self-destruction as well as enabling the irresponsible person’s self-destruction. Why? Because if he/she would have continued to reap “nothing” from their irresponsibility, the consequences of going without their needs met would eventually have become motivational to change and become a productive part of society. Lastly, there is the point of your own purpose of existence; you are violating your gift of life by putting time and energy into responsibilities that are not yours when those time and energies should be going into your God-given life goals and leading a fulfilling life, an abundant life (Jn.10:10).

Free yourself today by responsibility. Free yourself from exhaustion, unfulfillment, and resentment by only being responsible for the life duties that are yours. Free yourself to enjoy good health, happiness, and fulfillment by being aware of the responsibilities which are truly yours. Free yourself from irritation and frustration by being content with your choice of responsibilities. Acting upon your own life’s real responsibilities will leave you happy, healthy, and allow you to fulfill your God-given life purpose.

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