Thief of Responsibility

Up until about 8 months ago I was completely convinced that all, 100%, of the problems in my relationships were my fault. I believed that I had either created the problem in the first place, or I had made it worse.

Either way--my fault.

I had spent the last 8 or so years examining my relationships and taking ownership of the problems. And definitely a large portion of those problems were mine to own...but I was taking ownership of everything, 100%. And as I changed, things DID change so I took that as confirmation that I had been the problem.

But even as I worked so hard to change, by God's grace and through His power, some things didn't change.

I would go through periods of deep depression out of frustration and despair because I just hadn't changed enough to fix all the problems. I questioned whether I had actually changed at all or if it was just my imagination or pride. And I began to question whether it was even possible for me to change. Like maybe I was just a Saul or Judas or Pharoah. And that led to a lot of questioning God and being angry. All of this even though I had clearly changed.

So last September I became desperate and reached out for help. I began counseling and going to Celebrate Recovery and working the steps and principles. And I've spent the last 8 months coming to the realization that everything is NOT my fault.

While my actions have and do affect others, I am not 100% responsible for the problems in the world. Or even MY world. If it can't be fixed by ME changing--it probably isn't and never was my fault.

I have to own my own actions but no amount of fixing ME is going to fix someone else. And fixing them isn't my responsibility or even within my realm of control.

In some ways this is a huge load off. Not having to take responsibility for other peoples actions and feelings is a weight lifted from my shoulders.

But it also means that I can't fix all the problems in my life. God can fix me if I'm willing to surrender but no amount of surrendering on my part will fix anyone else. I have to just pray and trust God with other people.

So when something happens or someone lets me know that there's a problem, I can assess the situation, own my part, ask for forgiveness if necessary and not take responsibility that isn't mine to take. Because taking other peoples responsibility robs them of the opportunity to grow.

Yes, my actions can trigger someone to sin. And I am responsible for not provoking my brothers and sisters to stumble and I should avoid it at all costs.

Yes, other peoples actions can trigger me. I am responsible for setting boundaries for myself and communicating them to protect myself from sinning (that seems to be what Jesus is talking about when He says, if your right hand offends you, cut it off). It is also my responsibility to NOT sin even when provoked. I fail on that account.

The thing is, knowing that my words and actions are about me, and only me, has set me free. Because the same thing applies to other people. Other peoples words and actions are about them. Not me. "Hurting people hurt people and free people free people".

So what does this look like in my life?

1. My depression is almost non existent.

2. My relationship with Michael is much more peaceful.

3. I'm a better mom. I didn't even realize how much all of that responsibility affected me as a mother. Yelling has reduced to...well...it's a rare occurrence.

4. I can trust the wisdom that God provides and I can tell myself the truth based on that. So I can take responsibility for my actions when needed and feel confident when things truly aren't my fault.

When I started this process, I thought I would be fixed at the end of my step study. I'm not. But I have learned a ton and I am equipped for growth.

I am thankful and I am ready to continue the journey.


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