I mentioned in my last post how frustrated I was when I was triggered by reading these words “you will not hear what you are not willing to obey.” I was immediately filled with emotion as I recalled the frustration and the futility of all “my” self-help efforts. I was running out of willpower to keep up the fight to find and experience the life that had eluded me – a life of peace and stability – loving others and experiencing love. I remember thinking at the time, my self image was so fragile that if I had to look within to identify more “problems” – I doubted I could summon the strength. Seriously, I wasn’t sure I could continue to keep the “responsible parts” of me functioning, and that thought shook me to my core as it threatened my very survival!
Probably through necessity, I had developed a robust understanding of the need to be responsible – in work, finances, ethics, etc.. I was a single parent for many years and I was 100% committed to providing the best I could for my daughter. (And God helped me every step of the way!) In the area of personal relationships with men – I had continued to operate as a fool – as defined so well by the author of the Book of Proverbs, as someone who is unable to learn by listening and chooses to learn by living the consequences of their decisions and choices.
It took too many failures in this area for me to finally stop believing the fault and blame lay at the feet of external circumstances and other people. And it took some persuasion from wise teachers for me to agree to stop asking that one haunting question that kept me fruitlessly looking for answers. The question that plagued me – a tiny three letter word with the power to lead you down some dead-end, unnecessary and useless paths – the big question – “why?” Its the wrong question and when you pursue it as your primary focus it rarely produces positive results. And even though in some ways I was perpetuating the dysfunction that existed in my family of origin, where codependency flourished, this was not the answer to my why and it was not an excuse I could use to explain away my own relationship issues. It was a fact – not my justification to continue to fail.
5Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
6Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
7Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
8Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for.
In God’s loving kindness, it was at that time, He began to gently lead me away from my inaccurate and incorrect suppositions about Who He is, into a place of trusting Him. And this gave me the foundation, the security and the strength to look at, identify and take responsibility for how my beliefs about my identity were the source of my unresolved issues.
I began to realize I had abdicated my own responsibility for my well being and happiness and handed it to others through covert codependency. I had sought the approval of others as the basis for my happiness – when they were happy with me I was happy and more often than not when they were not happy with me, I was devastated – and quickly moved to attempting to be whatever they needed me to be to maintain their approval thereby maintaining my sense of wellbeing. I was looking outside myself for my value and to others to tell me who I was and prove my identity. I had handed my power to another and wondered why I was so miserable in this area.
I had, over the years, started to realize God had given the responsibility for me, to me alone – and it was a sacred role. I was catching on that He created me with the intention that I was to be the guardian over me. And He further developed my understanding that I had no authority over anyone else. God gave us each free will and we can only exercise that for ourselves. Not for others. The light began to dawn that I was never intended to be responsible for the life outcomes of the choices and decisions of others. (And how often do we do that because we believe their outcomes reflect poorly on our value – sound familiar?) Just as I will bear the outcomes – positive and negative – for my own choices, I must not interfere with the God given free will of others to choose and decide and live out their own outcomes. He will never override our free will and I am to deeply respect that right for myself and others, as He does!
The paradox? As I began to address, slowly, one by one, the lies that had formed my identity, through taking personal responsibility to send them away and then – equally as important -taking the second step of writing on my heart, persuading, “putting on” the truth of my identity as God always intended it to be – I was set free. AND as I applied this new understanding to the rights of others – their right to choose for themselves and live out their outcomes – without interference from me, everyone around me got set free – whether they knew it or not!
I cannot describe the freedom – jubilant liberating freedom – I have experienced from that time on. The stress of false ownership and responsibility for others is no longer present in my life. Life is “easy and light.” As it should be!
When our identity is fully rooted, grounded and established IN CHRIST, we are set free to begin to take the necessary steps for the transformation of our hearts. Our value has been firmly established IN HIM, and when our value is intact and nothing can diminish it, a great freedom comes to look at and accept the things God wants to heal, change and make whole! We have a firm foundation to do this work, this labor unto rest, resting on this solid Rock where we can live, immovable, intrepid, unwavering – our tent peg firmly holding in place the truth that aligns with His truth, which ultimately leads us down the passageway to stability, peace and so much joy!
What’s next? I am going to start sharing the journey of addressing those painful footprints on our hearts. I hope you will join me as I share my post “The Broken Rocker,” where I recount my first transformative experience with Jesus where He met me in the midst of my first memory of a heart footprint – the place where the first lies regarding my identity were written in my heart as a very young child.
May the Lord guide you and bless you as we continue our journey of life.
1 thought on “Finding Liberty Through Personal Responsibility – The Paradox”
It is amazing thank you so much for doing this please do not ever stop!