Do you find yourself feeling heavy and overloaded by someone else’s needs? Does assuming responsibility for them cause you not to do things you want to do?
Sometimes you get bogged down in responsibilities in relationships that are not yours to assume. When the other person does not assume responsibility, you try to solve problems that are not yours to solve. Taking this responsibility keeps you from assuming another responsibility that is equally if not more important. When you do, you miss things you are supposed to be doing and even better equipped to do.
A story in the Bible illustrates the importance of staying focused on responsibilities that bring about the greatest results in your lives.
David, when he was a shepherd boy, developed a deep and close relationship with God. Goliath, a giant, challenged God, made fun of God and His people even to the point of terrorizing them. Because of David’s intimacy with God, Goliath’s scoffing infuriated David.
David went down to the battlefield to find out what was going on because he wanted to take on Goliath. As he asked for information, his older brother insulted him. David didn’t stop to fight with him, defend or prove himself. He turned and went elsewhere to find the information he needed to fight Goliath. Read I Samuel 17 if you want more details of the story.
David stayed focused on his mission to fight Goliath. Though small, David used the tools he had on hand, his slingshot and he killed Goliath, the giant. This one act has inspired millions throughout history and to this day. If David had gotten distracted fighting with his brother, he would have missed his appointment with destiny, and his opportunity to do a greater work.
Working through conflicts with others is critical to success in life. However, at times, you can take responsibility in relationships that are not yours to assume. You may try to fix relationships that won’t be fixed and get distracted. Then you miss greater, more fruitful opportunities to make a significant impact on our world.
How do I know this? I’ve made these mistakes myself. I’ve assumed responsibilities in relationships that caused me to miss this greater opportunity to write. Fortunately, I learned and gradually let go of responsibilities that were not mine to assume and it freed up my time and emotional energy to assume this responsibility. My load is lighter and I believe I am doing the greater work God has in mind for me to do.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1, 2 (NIV)
What about you? Think about what you can trim from your life to focus on what will bear more fruit for yourself and others.