For the past few years God has been gently transforming my thinking by renewing my mind. Every now and then I have a HUGE A’HA moment where understanding enters and I start to “GET” what He has been transforming in me and why.
A few months ago I became aware of an unhealthy pattern in my thinking. I was sitting between two people who I love that were having a heated argument. I zoomed out and recognized that though I was not at the center of their argument, I was feeling completely responsible for it, and began internally problem solving how I was going to “fix it.” The next moment, I had a realization of how broken and irrational my thinking was because I had absolutely nothing to do with their dispute. I was perplexed and wondered just how often this type of thinking creeped into my mind, so I decided the best person to ask was God. He was faithful to reveal the existing patterns that were far reaching in my life.
If my husband and children were having a tiff….I felt responsible to fix it, to lift their spirits, to help them reconcile.
If my children were having a bad day and were simply “cranky”, I took it personal or I felt responsible to help them become “happy” again.
If my husband was in a mood, I assumed I must have done something wrong and worked hard to lift his spirits, but it really was from more of a selfish place because I am uncomfortable living in tension.
And there was a flip side to all of this…..
When I was having a bad day…I was looking for someone to be responsible for me too.
When I am cranky and feeling unloved…
When I am overwhelmed and exhausted….
When I am depressed and feeling lonely….
I go searching for someone to blame and to hold responsible for my unhappiness.
Ok, now that I have leaked my heart here and exposed the broken thinking, I am feeling quite naked. However, every moment I have revealed this pattern to a friend of mine, I have sat across from a woman who says, “me too, Sunny, I do that too.”
And, this has to stop. Being responsible for everyone else puts us in position to never truly own ourselves and our own behavior because we are too busy being responsible for someone else. It also has us too busy focusing on “whose fault” it is that we are unhappy rather than being responsible for our own happiness.
As I allow God to transform my thinking, I am experiencing new levels of healing and new levels of freedom….even though I am also experiencing moments of intense revelation where I am seeing this behavior of mine on display. It is exhausting to be responsible for everyone! There is something freeing about learning to be responsible for myself; owning my feelings, my emotions, and taking them before God, rather than blaming someone else and holding them responsible to fix me. But it is also a difficult mindset to break as I have been operating in my broken way of thinking for over 20 years. I have had to ask God to help me to explore the recesses of my heart and to scour through the past in order to identify the moment where I adopted this type of thinking. I have learned that God doesn’t just magically heal something that I never knew existed…He reveals it, then He heals it, and most of my “healings” have required my participation as well.
When we begin to own ourselves and stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s happiness, the people we have been taking responsibility for may not like it and it will take time for them to adapt. Other people may want to hold us responsible for their happiness, but just because they attempt to, doesn’t mean we have to own that. We are humans, we naturally will let people down, and they will let us down. Let’s be a people who will choose grace. Let’s be a people who realize it is Christ alone that fills us, that brings us everlasting joy. Quit making “people” do what only God can do.
**Quick Side-Note** Just because we don’t need to take responsibility for people’s happiness around us, does not mean that we stop serving, loving, giving to, and cherishing others. We must determine the type of person we want to be and then be him or her. I want to be a woman who loves. A woman who helps others. A woman who extends mercy and forgiveness. A woman who encourages others. A woman who gives grace. I will be this woman not to make another person happy, but simply because I want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps because I actually believe that people might know Him if I choose to be THAT woman. Never allow your attempts for “health and transformation” to be an excuse to mistreat another person or to walk away from commitments you have made to God and others…that’s not health.
PS. God Delights in You!