It is becoming more and more clear that personal responsibility is quickly fading. It used to be that if something happened in a person’s life, the responsibility rested on their shoulders, and they admitted it. It doesn’t appear to be that way in America today. Now, it seems that whenever something goes wrong in some one’s life, there has to be someone else to blame besides the person who is involved.
People claim that the problem is their genetic makeup, their seemingly uncontrollable circumstance, or some other cosmic influence out of their control that guides their inability to make wise decisions. I understand that these are broad strokes that I am using to paint this picture, but I’m sure you can partly agree with what I am saying.
Let me use an example from my own life. When I used to work as a manager at my former employer, we always had a 7:00am meeting on Monday mornings. It was every Monday. It was always at 7:00am, and we always had people who showed up late. The excuses that people came up with for why they were late ranged from the believable- ‘traffic was so bad’ to the lies ” I had to scrape the frost off my windshield” (when the person parked their car under a car port)
Here’s what the excuses lacked- personal responsibility. Here are some good excuses that are truthful and paint a more adequate picture of what truly happened.
1. I chose to sleep in later and hope that traffic wouldn’t be as bad as it is every other Monday for the past year, but my guess was wrong, so I was late.
2. I waited until the last minute to do my report and by the time I got to it the night before, I realized it was too late to call and ask for help, so now I’m going to say that I didn’t understand the assignment.
3. I don’t care about being on time. I leave at the same time everyday regardless of weather or traffic conditions.
4. I didn’t plan the night before, so when I woke up at my regular time, I realized I didn’t have a clean shirt or socks and couldn’t find my paperwork, so I was late.
There’s always an excuse, the question is does the excuse match up with personal responsibility, or does the excuse place the blame on someone else and their apparent power over you?
Let me drive the point home with this article- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101028/ap_on_he_me/lt_brazil_mcdonald_s_obese_manager Read it and ask yourself who is responsible in this story. I’m not saying that there are times when someone else is responsible for your malady, but in my summation, more often than not, people refuse to realize who is really at fault in their life.
Challenge the excuses in your own life today. The excuses about the things that you do or don’t do. The areas of your life where you blame someone else for your circumstance. Then do this- declare that it was your fault. You did it, and then choose to make other decisions. Or at least be truthful about where you are at in life and admit who did what.
Am I being a bit harsh? Maybe a tad bit- but here’s the deal- if you want to see powerful change in your life you have to go after where the problem is, and usually I find that the problem starts with me, not with someone else.
Here’s the best part- when we truthfully admit our faults or admit our shortcomings to God, and ask for forgiveness His work begins. When we don’t admit our ownership over our situations, and blame someone else, we never truly heal or move forward in our lives. We just simply pass the blame to someone else, hoping that in some way our life will be different.
Own up. Fess up. Ask for forgiveness. Move on.
I’ve been working on a project in my garage for the past week or so, I’ve been trying to add some new circuitry. If you read yesterdays blog, you heard about the 60 amp breaker talking to me, somehow, those wires keep a talkin’ to me!
Yesterday was no different. I had some time in the middle of the day yesterday that I had set aside to do another small part of the wiring project. In my calculation, it would only take me about 30-45 minutes to do what I wanted to do, so about noon, I decided to get in there and work on it.
With good Matt fashion, the project went wrong, I got nothing accomplished when I thought it would and I became very frustrated.
Very frustrated. I don’t know why this seems to be a common theme in my life, but whenever I try to do a project it always goes wrong, and takes much longer than I anticipated, and then I get very angry. Livid would probably be a better word to describe me at those times. When things happen in my life when I feel like I’m wasting my time, or my time is being lost, I get completely beside myself. I can’t stand it.
I don’t know what it is, but I value my time. Its one of the things I value most. There are one thousand four hundred and forty minutes in one day, and I like to use each and every one of them in the way I think they should be used. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to do fruitless things. I don’t like to spend time doing something on a project that accomplishes absolutely nothing.
I do not like wasting my time.
Is it really my time though? I think it was the great philosopher Spicoli who said “If I’m here, and you’re here, doesn’t that make it ‘our’ time?” Now, Spicoli was talking about classroom time with his teacher Mr. Hand, but I think it applies in this sense also. For me, because I am a person who has decided to follow Jesus, my time is no longer my time. It truly is ‘our’ time. Meaning, Jesus and I’s time.
Let me explain- God created me. God gave me breath. Jesus died for me, I live for Him. He wants to have all of me, not part of me. He wants to change me into his likeness and mold me into a new creation. He wants me to have the fruit of the Spirit and not the lusts of the flesh. Everything I have is His. I’ve relinquished my ownership. He owns it all. Including my time.
It doesn’t feel like it all the time though. I have to constantly remind myself self of this truth. I realize that God doesn’t take every moment of every day, but He is in every moment of every day. When I have a good day or a bad day He is there. When I am productive or destructive with my time, He is there. He owns the days, hours and minutes, the question is whether or not I will realize it and walk in it, or I will fight it all day long. If I will always think that it is MY time not OUR time.
God can and will use every moment to glorify Him if I will let Him. The issue is if I will realize what He can do with each of the minutes that I have, and then allow Him to help me grow. In moments like yesterday, to realize that God can use it to refine my character once again. To bring out the fruit of patience in my life in new measure to bring Him more glory.
Do you struggle with ownership of the things in your life? Do you constantly think of things as ‘mine’ and not ‘ours’. None of it is yours. Its all His. Together it is ‘ours’. Think about that today. Reflect on the struggles that you have with the things you have, and maybe you can realize that what you have is co-owned by the Creator.
It will change your perspective, and the way you view what you think you have.