Hello, friends! Gather ‘round. The grit of self work continues. Strap on your work boots, and let’s get to it. We’re going to wade into the work of responsibility.
Responsibility means different things to all of us. Before we continue, let’s define our territory.
Responsibility: the state of being accountable for something.
This definition makes responsibility sound like a chore. I hate chores. And yet….there is something to be said about the ability to hold ourselves accountable.
Responsibility is housekeeping for the soul. It’s a cornerstone of self worth and self love, and the first step to redemption.
What’s redeeming about responsibility? It sounds constricting. Why hold yourself accountable when you can throw caution to the wind?
It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true! Personal responsibility opens the gateway to freedom. It’s a boundary that is sorely lacking in our ‘outsourcing’ society.
We outsource everything these days. Work emails, grocery shopping, chores, even our emotions: How am I feeling today? What do I want for breakfast? What should I do about these important life decisions? I’ll turn to 100 of my closest friends and let them decide.
We’ve become interconnected and codependent. The price we pay is the loss of knowing our own minds. The more we rely on others, the less we rely on ourselves. The more we turn to the world to give us guidance, the less personal responsibility we take.
Sounds like exile, doesn’t it?
Owning your decisions, your story, and your life takes accountability. It begins with turning towards yourself and listening to your own voice. Do you know what your own voice really sounds like? Listen for it. I’ll wait.
In each generation, a person must view himself as having left slavery in Egypt. We’re not in Egypt, but I’d dare to say that we’re still slaves.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should completely disconnect from the world and turn to ourselves so deeply that we become like onions with our heads in the ground. Too much of your own mind may be toxic—but so is too little!
Slavery is easy. I am much more comfortable turning to people for guidance, assistance, and direction. Slavery means having my life handed to me—a schedule, tasks, beliefs. There is security in being told what to do. Listening to myself is hard. What if I make the wrong choice? What if I make a mistake? It’s easier handed over responsibility and allow the rest of the world to form and shape me.
When faced with the choice, some of us may quickly turn back to our chains.
Did you know that the Jewish people almost reaccepted slavery?
After hundreds of years in slavery, Hashem redeemed them. And then, they arrived at the Red Sea. Uh oh. A sea before them and an Egyptian army raging towards them. Some people wanted to throw themselves into the sea; some became catatonic; others wanted to fight. Even still, a fourth group was ready to go back to Egypt and continue living as slaves. It was easier to surrender, even though freedom was theirs! Misery was familiar. They’d never had to take personal responsibility before.
Nachshon Ben Aminadav didn’t wait for anyone to tell him what to do. With a heart full of trust and faith, he leaped into the sea. And it split.
When we wait for others to make the move for us, we become bystanders to our own lives. Moreover, we take G-d out of context. By putting our full faith in other people, we’ve forgotten that Hashem runs the world. Not only that, but Hashem gave us all of the tools we need.
Can you quiet down long enough to listen to what He needs you to know?
The first step to freedom is admitting that you’re in exile. Are you ready to admit it? It’s hard, but you can do it.
The next time you find yourself stuck, don’t run to anyone else! Ask YOURSELF: “What are you going to do about it?” You’d be surprised at how crystal clear the answer will be.
It takes courage to redeem yourself. It takes guts to listen to your own voice. Slavery is easier because it’s surrender. You don’t have to surrender. You can do it. I believe in you.