Do you take responsibility seriously? Is it possible that you take responsibility for things that are out of your control?
Have you ever heard the saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink?”
Responsibility plays a big part in our lives especially as we become adults. But sometimes we can overstep the boundary and assume more responsibility than we should. When we do this we take on accountability that weighs heavy on us and is unnecessary.
Today I want to encourage you to lift the burden of responsibility that was never yours to carry.
When my sons were in their final year of school I felt the burden of responsibility to get them over the line. I prayed, worried, prayed, stressed, prayed and cajoled my sons into doing what they need to do to pass year 12.
In reality, I had provided them every opportunity to engage and prepare for success but I could not do it for them. This was so frustrating because I wished I could have them do exactly what I wanted the way I wanted.
I wanted to put my head on their shoulders and show them the value and importance of the season they were in. But at the end of the day I could tell them and encourage them but I could not force them to do what they need to in order to succeed.
A friend once shared with me the secret to not overstepping the boundary of responsibility and here it is…
We are responsible to people not for people.
This is a truth that brings us great relief from the burden of taking on other people’s responsibilities. It also allows us to see where our responsibility ends and where others begin.
We can be a listening ear, we can help where possible and we can speak the truth in love to them but at the end of the day how they respond and the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone.
Jesus was great at this. He told people the truth. He provided teaching that could set them free. But it was up to the people to believe and respond. Some did and some didn’t.
Remember the rich young ruler? In a lot of ways he had responded to the truth but there was one thing that he had left to do and he turned away sad because he did not want to do it.
When we realise that we are responsible to people and not for people it transforms the way we respond when people don’t behave in the way we would like. It gives us the freedom to not carry the burden of other people’s decisions that were never ours to carry in the first place.
When we grasp the concept of being responsible to rather than for people we are then able to enjoy the value and joy of doing life together without being overcome.
Please help me to define the difference between being responsible “to” not “for” people in my life. Where I have overstepped the boundary please forgive me and help me to not overstep that mark again.