Responsibility: A duty or obligation that must be upheld in order to satisfactorily perform or complete a task that has been assigned by someone else or has been created by one’s own promise or circumstances. The consequence of not fulfilling the obligation is penalty or failure.“We are assured and know that to those who love God, all things are fitted into a plan and will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
When Jeremy was a newborn baby (almost 18 years ago!), the biggest emotion I felt wasn’t tiredness (although I was so sleep deprived and exhausted I ended up being hospitalized when he was 10 weeks old); it wasn’t fear of the unknown (although I had no idea what I was doing); it wasn’t enjoyment (although there were moments that I found enjoyable [like the one’s when he was finally asleep!]); and it wasn’t love (although I absolutely adored my baby). It was, quite simply, an overwhelming sense of responsibility.
The birth of my son was the single biggest turning point in my life. I went from being responsible for only myself to having to be responsible for a tiny little human being. And oh how I struggled. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! Having a baby was so much harder than remembering to feed the cat or walk the dog or remembering to put the horse’s rugs on at night! It was my job to keep this child alive! I had been assigned a task and the consequence of not fulfilling this duty was failure! It was a HUGE responsibility and I suffered greatly because of it for a long time.
The reason I struggled so much with this issue of responsibility is that I watched other new Mums closely and they seemed to be able to accomplish so much more in their day than I ever did. They were better at feeding their babies. Their babies settled themselves without the aids of dummies (pacifiers) or having to be pushed in a pram or driven in the car to fall asleep. They were able to leave the house in half the amount of time as me. Dressed. With hair done and makeup applied. And without vomit on their clothes. Their houses were tidy. Their meals were pre-prepared in the freezer. They even managed to lose all their pregnancy weight by going for daily walks around the river. They seemed to have so many more hours in their day than me and were handling the responsibility of
motherhood life so much better than me.
They were, in my eyes, simply better than me.
Reading the book by Glynnis Whitwer “I used to be so Organized” (as part of Melissa Taylor‘s online bible study) my eyes have been opened to why I used to feel this way and why I struggled with this issue of responsibility for so long.
Glynnis writes: “Regardless of your available time, energy level, and resources, you have everything you need to accomplish the responsibilities God has given you“.
And that’s the key for me right there! The obligations, duties and responsibilities I need to accept are the ones God has given me – not the things I have given myself, nor the things I want to do or think I should do. Or the things other people are doing! God has given me everything I need for what he wants me to do.
What a shame I was such a slow learner!
Now I realize that when I take on responsibility for things I’m not supposed to be doing, I end up “drained, overwhelmed, resentful and ready to quit”.
As Glynnis says, “Too many women assume more responsibility than they should. The reasons are many and complicated. We love the excitement of a new project, the challenge, and the busyness of it all. Then we get to a breaking point and wonder how in the world we let it get this bad.”
Over the years I have learned that to cope with the responsibilities I have been given it is wise to have someone else shoulder the load with me. People are great – for a season. But ultimately, the one that should help me shoulder the responsibility is God. After all, He’s the one that’s given me the responsibility in the first place!
I still occasionally find myself struggling and faltering under the weight of responsibility so I stop and ask myself “am I doing what God wants me to be doing?”
I will always be busy with the responsibilities I have been given, but I’m not overwhelmed any more the way I was when Jeremy was first born. If God changes the priorities He has for my life and gives or takes away from my list of obligations, I’ll be ready to put myself in His hands and trust in His plans and purposes for my life.
“He’s got the wind and the rain in His hands, He’s got the tiny little baby in His Hands, He’s got you and me brother In His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
Yep, and now you’re singing the song!