About this time of the new year, we begin to tire of our resolutions or our non-resolution goals. The slower pace of the holidays is gone. Moments of quiet reflection snuggled up in front of the Christmas tree and fire seem but a distant memory. The zeal we held as the fresh pages of the new calendar emerged is gone. Life has happened. Our schedules are once again full. Sickness has come and gone, or may be still lingering. We are tired of the cold, damp air. We are tired of the dark setting in so early. We are tired. And as the fatigue sets in, so go our goals/resolutions. We begin to forget, we begin to cave. I’m with you. And Lord have mercy, please tell me some of you are with me!
This year my only resolution was to not give up on my goals. Persevere has been a big word in our home. As I have pushed through the past week or two, trying not to give up, trying not lose my resolve, my focus, I have also begun to think a lot about accountability. If like me, you are in church, that word has been a buzz word for some several years now. With the onset of life coaching, digital mapping and coaching programs, the business world too has been abuzz about accountability.
Definition of ACCOUNTABILITY
the quality or state of being accountable
; especially :
an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account
for one’s actions <public officials lacking accountability
> (Merriam Webster)
The reality is, accountability is the one thing most likely to keep us from falling off the wagon. We are made for relationship. Our Creator, God the Father, intentionally created us this way. Adam was insufficient alone. He needed and was given a help-mate. So, it is no surprise, that for us to persevere, keep on, move forward toward our goals, we need to have the assistance of another. We need that person or persons who will speak truth to us, call us, expect and demand responsibility from us. I see it daily as I raise my children. Especially now, as they edge toward adulthood. They need me to hold them accountable. I must set an expectation, I must come alongside them or sit quietly behind them, nudging, asking, supporting, celebrating. We know we need it. We know it is scriptural. We know it has merit in the business world. Yet, we avoid it. We hesitate to grab a hold of it. Too often, we would rather fall off the wagon than be vulnerable to another. Sometimes we are justified in those fears. Sometimes those holding themselves out as “accountability partners” are more interested in judgement and competition. They are more interested in orchestrating another’s life than serving as a help-mate. But those situations, those people, should not define the sum of our experience. They should not determine our success or our failure. We have to move past those people, to the genuine, giving people in our lives ready to live life with us, ready to push us with honesty and love-those ready to be a help-mate. We need to embrace those people who celebrate when we succeed, even if only at the first step in a twenty step process. We need to embrace those people who see our potential and can’t wait to watch us soar to new heights.
Accountability. I want it. I need it. I want to offer it. I am so glad I have two friends in particular who are this. We have never defined our relationships as such, but accountability is a big part of our relationships. What qualities do these women have that make them such good accountability partners?
- They are women of faith who spend time daily in prayer.
- They listen more than they talk. (I need to work on this)
- They are genuinely interested-they ask probing questions and remember what is said.
- They are gentle in spirit.
- They are hard workers.
- They are willing to share their hardships, but never compare.
- They are honest.
- They are giving-of their time, their attention and their gifts.
- They are confident, but not haughty.
- They believe in others when others are too discouraged to believe.
Don’t fall off the wagon. Grab you some accountability. If you don’t have a person that sounds like one of my friends, pray for that new friendship. As you persevere, pray to become that person for another. I still have nine and half months to go this year. There is no reason to give in now.
I GIVE! It is 8:00 at night, and quite frankly I am T-I-R-E-D. I have too much on my plate, all of my own choosing, and quite frankly I have been following very little of my own advice. So tonight, I feel like a two ton gorilla ready to plop down and call it quits. There’s nothing wrong with my life-we are employed, we are healthy, we are safe. No, it’s just all that little stuff-that stuff that when not managed well turns you into either a screaming hyena or an overwhelmed gorilla. I am juggling two businesses, homeschooling (for the first time) a high school student, managing a home, and living out my gifts volunteering with Christian Women’s Job Corps. I love it all. But, some days I get distracted, I fail to block time and my mind starts wandering. I fail to focus and finish. Oh, how many times I have uttered those words to my children, “Focus, finish what you started.” Ouch. So goes motherhood. It always comes back around doesn’t it?! As the tension crept up my back today, as I lay awake at 4:15 a.m. thinking of all the tasks left undone, I silently screamed out “I GIVE!”.
Focus. That’s what I need to do. I need to set aside some time this week to tackle three items on each of my projects. I need to focus. I need to quit multi-tasking, flitting from one thing to another, attempting to juggle. I need to focus. Focus brings stillness, quiet, resolve. Focus brings fresh breath. Focus helps me hear the still small voice of my Master. I can’t finish until I focus. I’ll never finish if I look too far ahead or keep turning to my right and to my left. I’ll only finish when I focus. Focus will bring clarity to the path, enable me to see what is ahead. Intent focus has me looking only one step ahead, at the one thing that needs to be done next.
While I have to admit I still feel a bit like an over weight, grumpy gorilla, I have new resolve. I know God has ordained my days. I know God has a plan. I know God can and will bring clarity. Focus to finish.