Responsibility & Accountability

Hey everyone! How is your month coming? Up north, we’ve gotten some snow and it’s been won-der-ful! I already started cranking out the Christmas music and got out some lights for my room to get that nice seasonal feeling. Thanksgiving is coming and so is my break (so excited for that), and it will be our first holiday celebrated in our new house. I’m pretty excited and we’re going to be having the big Thanksgiving meal at our house. Ah, that is going to be a good day.

With my classes going on I have had a lot of time to think about responsibility and accountability. I had a topic idea for a blog article a while back, and I had put it aside for some time; deciding that I just wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. It’s going to be this week’s topic.

Sweet Change

Generally speaking, I think a lot of us like the perks that come with more responsibility–which is often more independence. After all those years of having to ask and check with with parents, you finally get to begin making your own decisions and judgments. It can be a strange feeling, but satisfying. Responsibility can take a few forms, frequently involving new, or more, freedom or decision-making. Most likely some changes can be things like more driving privileges, less parental oversight in TV, movies, and books. etc.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of the trust and responsibility that I have received from my parents as I’ve gotten older. But, as I’ve gained more privileges and trust, sometimes I have wanted to retreat back to the earlier times when decision-making and discernment was less daunting. Specifically, when I didn’t really have to make the harder decisions, when I wasn’t solely accountable. 

Uncomfortable Accountability?

Don’t get me wrong, independence and responsibility are great things when well-earned. They’re a natural part of life, but sometimes it seems more comfortable to stay where we are. I can recall a time when I asked for permission to see a movie (in which the “yes” or “no” answer wasn’t certain) and I got a surprise–the decision was left to me! You might be surprised, but I was actually uncomfortable with the decision. 

‘What?’ you might say. ‘Hope, isn’t that awesome?’ you might ask. But, as much as that was nice it wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for. Why was this uncomfortable? I think it was because of a few familiar reasons. 

Putting the decision into my hands meant making the right decision, and thinking for myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t think over what kinds of movies I asked for, but there was a certain ‘I don’t have to do the moral deliberations because someone else can do it’ when I had to get the “okay” to see it. This is the wrong mindset as it encourages us to leave the deeper “thinking” to others when we should be actively considering whether it is the right thing to do or not.  Also, there’s something to be said about what is personally and spiritually “okay” for us. Permission to see/do something doesn’t automatically make it spiritually right for us (or someone else). 

I have run into this before, and long story short, we  should listen to the Holy Spirit. If He’s telling us no, than it would be a pretty good idea to listen–despite it being “okay”.  I also think another part of it can be self-doubt about our discernment. As a teen I have had my fair share of self-doubt in several areas, and being objective and getting past my own desires to see a movie and deciding whether it was actually a good decision was unsettling. This is where we get to my next point. 

Growing and Moving Forward

That weight of responsibility and accountability can be uncomfortable, however, as we mature, more responsibility is a natural part of life. We have to realize that as we become adults,  decision making will increasingly fall on us, and that’s okay. We can’t have others make decisions for us forever. Moreover, more responsibility can help us to practice wise decision-making that will be important for issues much larger than the “dilemma” of what to watch. The decisions we make as teens will help us to prepare us for bigger decisions in the future. 

Conclusion  

Ah, sweet freedom. It’s indeed a wonderful thing to have–more responsibility and decision-making for ourselves. It helps us to grow in discernment and helps us to prepare for the more challenging decisions to make in the future. 

Yet, to some, this is daunting as we doubt our decision making abilities. However, this is a normal process and an attentive ear to the Holy Spirit will relieve us of some anxiety. Additionally, we should also be aware that even when we get permission, we need to exercise discernment for ourselves as well, and not merely let others do the thinking for us. Even if we get the “okay” and yet violate the Holy Spirit’s leading we are sinning and are accountable for it (Romans 14:12). 

On a final note, we should not be careless about our responsibilities or neglect to use discernment while under authority. However, let’s not let fear keep us from growing and practicing good decision-making. 

What do you think? Would you agree or disagree? If so, why? Do you enjoy responsibility or do you find it intimidating? If you were to examine yourself, would you find a neglecting of discernment? Do you struggle with accountability or responsibility? As always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Till next month, wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving in advance!

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