Check Yourself: Why Taking Accountability is Necessary for Growth
I have a confession.
I hate admitting when I've fallen short. If we're being honest, who actually enjoys coming clean about this? (If you do, kudos to you...that's growth!)
As hard as it is for me to see my shortcomings, I recently had to check myself. My prayers for years have gone a little something like this,
“Lord, *insert person’s name* has broken my heart and I don’t know how I’ll recover. Why would they do this to me? How could they be THAT heartless? I’ve done nothing to deserve this! Please help me to heal from this. Remove the pain, Lord. Amen!”
Cute prayer and all, but there’s something missing; several things actually. For one, I’ve always neglected the part where you’re supposed to ask God for the lesson in what you’ve gone through. I always jump straight to asking for healing instead of seeking clarity even though all of our heartaches are teachable moments. Secondly, I forget to ask God for a heart of forgiveness. I can never be fully healed if I don’t forgive the person who caused the hurt. Lastly, I put all of my focus on the person who hurt me without take accountability for the role I played in the hurt…
I know it sounds crazy. I’ll explain because I know you’re probably thinking, “why should you take accountability when the other person hurt YOU?!” Let me start by giving a disclaimer: I am in NO way saying that we play a role in ALL of the hurt that we experience in life. There will be many times when we’re living by everything that God taught us from our past and we’re still tested. However, many times we DO open the door for hurt to enter and then, we point ALL of the blame on the one who brought the hurt.
Another disclaimer: I am in NO way making an excuse or taking any of the blame away from the one who caused the pain. I am also not saying that we should beat ourselves up for opening the door. I am simply saying that complete healing requires us to look at our pain from EVERY angle and that can only happen if we take a look in the mirror.
I truly believe that discomfort is allowed in our lives to show us where WE can grow and make improvements. A lot of our despair isn’t even about the other person; it’s about us and how we can be transformed.
I’ll use my life as an example. I, like many other women, have had issues with my father growing up which led me to seek love and attention from guys that were clearly not for me (I go more in-depth in my post 0:00 - More Them, Less Me). I KNEW better and I KNEW that I was probably making a mistake by letting them in but being stubborn and ignoring every red flag that God slapped me in the face with, I proceeded to fall for them. Then, I was left broken and confused as to why it happened to me. I’ve spent the last few years of my life talking to God about the wrong that they did to me, but never did I ask God WHY I had to fall like this. Never did I ask Him WHY I had to experience such heartbreak over and over again.
It wasn’t until literally a few nights ago that I finally begin to seek Him for those answers. I spent so much time focusing on those guys and no time focusing on what God needed to show ME. That was the key to my healing, but I had to shift the way I evaluated my hurt.
Now, I would never beat myself over the head about any of this to make myself feel worse because at the end of the day, I’m young and have to learn in order to grow. I also have to take into consideration that I was attempting to fill a void that only my Heavenly Father can fill. HOWEVER, now that I’m wiser, it is up to me to change how I view my life and transition from a “victim” view to what I like to call a “big girl” view. I found so much “comfort” in wallowing and victimizing myself by constantly talking about how much I’ve been used, played and tossed to the side. It just felt better than admitting that I allowed a lot of that to happen continuously.
Realistically, when you’re broken and you’re actually IN the situation, you’re probably not going to see that you’re setting your heart up for the hurt. But when you come of the situation and you take time to really think about it, ask God, “what is the lesson in this for me? How can I move differently next time to avoid having these same issues? Where did I fall short in all of this?” He may reveal to you that it was only a slight misstep on your part, but the beauty in that revelation is that now you know what NOT to do if you’re faced with something similar in the future.
How can we do better if we don’t ask God to teach us better?
So, when I say the word “accountability,” I’m not using it in a sense that we’ve done something “bad.” We’re all just human and our judgement is sometimes skewed based on our lack of wisdom and even our upbringing. It’s completely normal and God expects that. He just also expects us to one day come to the point where we can go to Him for guidance on how to recover and gain wisdom.
I am challenging myself to be more mindful about my prayers and where I direct my energy. It’s not about those past lovers, ex-friends, toxic relatives or the bad kid that bullied you in school. It’s about where God wants to take you after the storm and how He wants to use your pain to bless you as well as others as you glorify Him. Ask yourself, “is there something that I’ve been harboring for way too long?” Then, ask God why you can let it go and what work has to be done on your end to heal from it. It’s time to take back our lives!