I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have a fairly hefty sense of responsibility. Perhaps this had to do with a thrifty, Scotch-English upbringing, or being the eldest child, or simply the ethos of my family. Regardless of its origins, I have a well-developed need to do things, and do them right. As a result, I’ve often found myself in charge of activities and projects, and tend to take charge in daily life.
If asked, Henry would probably tell you that I’m quite over-responsible. I micromanage him more often than he would like—and, truth be told, more often than I would prefer, if I wasn’t acting on a combination of instinct and habit. One of the reasons I work very hard on being more conscious in the way I live my life is because I don’t want to be a mother hen or a “pain in the tail” to the people in my life.
One reason I’ve found this habit hard to release is because that over-responsibility was an asset in my work life. Bosses and organizations knew they could count on me to follow through. I was rewarded for being that way.
Over the years, however, I believe it began to wear on me (and on Henry!), in slow and subtle ways. I began to resist and resent my own actions, and to notice similar over-responsibility and micromanaging in others. One of the gifts of becoming my own boss that, by its very nature, editing is micromanaging, so I can get my “fix” there, with words, rather than in relationships.
However it has happened, one clear result has been a tendency to find myself thinking, in many situations, “I am not in charge.” As I mentioned last week, this is one of two sayings which are slowly and steadily becoming habitual my life. Looking at situations and saying, appropriately(!), “I don’t get to know” and “I am not in charge” has allowed me to step back at times when I would have reached in to meddle in the past.
This is truly freeing for me. Recognizing—discerning—what is actually mine to do is hard-earned wisdom. It also allows me to focus my limited attention and energy on what God is calling me to do.
What hard-earned wisdom has arisen for you in recent months or years?
How are you evolving over the course of your life?
1.Human Progress is a lie.
2.We are being manipulated by powerful people to think that what they want for the world is what we want, not merely “should” want.
I don’t know if anybody “evolves”. I think that is a rhetorical and artificial construct. Changing how one thinks about the world isn’t evolution.
Hi, David. I disagree that human progress is impossible. If God didn’t create us to be capable of growth and change, why would God send Jesus to show us the way? I do agree that we can be manipulated by powerful people—but I also believe we can choose not to. Everything can be seen as propaganda; in fact, many non-Christians would say that Christianity uses a lot of propaganda. I believe instead in having the best of intentions, to spread love in a world being harmed by hate. If that’s propaganda, I’m all for it! 🙂
As for my use of the word “evolving,” you may well be right that I misused it in that sentence. “growing” or “changing” would have been better.
Growth and change? Maybe, if one considers triumph over challenges in the material world. We have made progress against disease, improved food production, and ending illiteracy to name three.
Sin, however, is the constant. We continue to estranged ourselves from God. We revel in the notion of our self-sufficiency, the origin of which is the sin of Pride. As an ethical teacher, Jesus can show us the “way”. Then we have to examine his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. The sacrifice on the cross is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. This restores us to wholeness.
Ah, David, I think you’re creating a false dichotomy between sacred and secular. All of creation falls within God’s purview, including both the spiritual and the material world (which overlap in significant ways). I choose to believe that it’s all one world, and every time we improve food production or decrease illiteracy, we are also reversing the sin that caused those issues in the first place. It’s all connected, all one system, all one Creation. Yes, we definitely need mercy and grace, and we also definitely need to do our part (which includes being open to that mercy and grace).
No I am not. I accept the idea of that all falls under God’s domain. We are commanded to feed the hungry, cure the sick. Feeding the hungry certainly has teaching people to feed themselves fall under that domain. But let’s look at the fallen state of humanity. That hasn’t changed. Would David’s adultery with Bath-Sheba been mitigated had artificial contraception and no-fault divorce been available lo those many years ago? Is adultery OK now since these options and adjuncts exist?
I see. I do agree that we keep finding new and creative ways to sin. We also keep finding new and creative ways to love. Think about crowdfunding for families in trouble and prayer apps and such. I choose to believe we are redeemable, and that God challenges us to keep choosing to do better, and to accept grace and mercy when we do sin.
Why do you avoid talking about. The Sacrifice of Jesus in The Crucifixion. Who redeems us? Not our good works, but by the Cross and the graces attendant there of. Either Jesus died for our redemption and rose again, or he didn’t.
Our good works do not redeem us, but I do not subscribe to the atonement theory. Jesus died because we are sinful creatures, but God did not need Jesus to die on the cross in order to forgive our sins. Otherwise, God is not powerful enough to have mercy on us, and that’s not the God I have experienced in my life. So, in your terms, he didn’t.
Maybe we humans needed The Crucifixion to fully comprehend that Love.
Now that’s an interesting idea. I can buy that self-sacrificial idea; just not that it was required. We definitely seem to need a lot of lessons, over and over, on the importance of sacrificial love! Thank you!
It was required in order that we get the message. At this point, I’m doing some seat of the pants theology. Putting The Incarnation and Crucifixion within the context of the prophetic tradition where God calls us back. You’re right. God can do anything he wants, so why did He choose this route for Salvation? More than puzzling.
I’m glad this conversation has you thinking! I trust that the answers will become crystal clear for us when we stand in God’s presence…meanwhile, we do our best seat-of-the-pants theology. I believe God honors that, deeply!
“I am not in charge” is the mantra I was given many years ago by a wise spiritual advisor. In fact, I was charged with repeating it daily while facing myself in the mirror. Over time, it has become easier to do but, as a responsible, conscientious first-born child, it is hard to break the habit of thinking I should always “fix it.”
Ah, Linda, I also am “a responsible, conscientious first-born child,” so I very much understand your perspective…and the wisdom of our spiritual guides! I’m glad it’s become easier for you as well—thanks be to God!