“Take responsibility!”, is one of those phrases we may have heard from our parents, teachers and for some of us even from our bosses. And we might have hated it and never thought about its meaning and crucial benefits to our life, because we were overwhelmed by our own personal challenges and/or damage control.
Why is it so important that I live responsibly and what does it look like to take responsibility in every day life? And how in the world can I act responsibly when I’m feeling powerless and hopeless to change anything?
Being aware of our position in life and taking responsibility in light of that are key elements in dealing with unwanted coping behaviours that keep us enslaved to an unhealthy lifestyle that destroys our self, our body and our relationships to others. Allow me to illustrate my point of view and tell you a story in the following lines.
“I lived in a bubble, a fantasy world where I was the center of the universe and I was the hero of the story.”John Theodore
The steps of a boy
It was in the year 2013 when I gave my life to Jesus Christ and when my world was turned upside down. Things I never understood before started to make sense and I began to see the structure and complexity of life as it is.
Leading up to that year, I never asked myself any fundamental questions about life. It was all about me and meeting my desires. I was following my heart as it were, doing what I like and crave. It seemed to be the normal way of life, my friends and I took everything for granted, alcohol was our common ground and we did as we saw fit.
I lived in a bubble, a fantasy world, where I was the center of the universe and I was the hero of the story. That is the story I convinced myself to believe. It was my narrative, I made it up and interpreted the world through it. It seems to me that that is the common human experience for most of us.
We all have a narrative by which we interpret and explain the world around us. It was either given to us by our parents or we made one up. Usually it is both and conflicts of “allegiance” are not uncommon. Researchers would argue that that is the whole point of the teenage years, where the young child becomes a man by rebelling against the status quo.
The question for me though is, was I a man after having rejected the values of my parents for my own narrative? Or was I just a boy claiming to be a man while playing with toys that I liked? Was my narrative better and truer than the one of my parents or other people around me? I thought so, what about you?
The question for me though is, was I a man after having rejected the values of my parents for my own narrative? Or was I just a boy claiming to be a man while playing with toys that I liked?John Theodore
At the age of 20, I had constructed my own narrative. I was self-confident and had a philosophy that seemingly accepted everyone, that made it easy for me to ignore my disrespect and ungratefulness toward my parents, and to justify my abuse of porn, games, alcohol and Marijuana in order to feel good.
I liked my philosophy! I didn’t try to fight my cravings for more mind numbing drugs, since it all felt good. “If it feels good it can’t be wrong” right? Wrong! Following the passions of the moment without weighing the consequences is the quintessence of childishness.
Playing those video games and watching that TV to numb out and effectively retreating from deepening our relationships with our most significant people in our lives. Going after that girl and having sex with her without considering her dignity and worth as a beautifully created and interesting woman. Watching those videos of the women that were enslaved in order to satisfy my lust for a brief moment of exquisite pleasure.
The steps of a man
Let us ask the question then: What does it mean to be a man and what does it mean to be a woman?
There are probably many cultural ways to link manhood and womanhood to some external skill or accomplishment. Here are a few examples:
- getting that car,
- drinking rights,
- voting rights,
- cooking your first meal,
- getting your first job,
- moving out,
- being independant,
- getting married,
- having children,
- killing a wild animal,
- running over hot coals,
- reading your confession in front of a congregation of peoples.
You probably have your own ideas to add or experience to share at this point.
Yet, for me this kind of definition is part of the problem which clutters the meaning of manhood and womanhood. We define manhood and womanhood by external achievements and goals instead of development of character and virtue. And I firmly believe that that is one of the reasons why we see the greatest and freest nations on the planet crumble under the pressure of people who are complaining and blaming rather than taking responsibility and owning their own choices, whether they are good or bad, whether they had a seamless childhood or went through earthly hell.
Taking responsibility is the first and foremost of all virtues because it requires clarity, humility and courage.John Theodore
From my perspective, and with all what I have experienced, I see that taking responsibility is the first and foremost of all virtues because it requires us
- to seek clarity about our own lives in the light of reality,
- to have the humility to admit where we have been wrong and need help to make it right,
- to practice vulnerability and courage to ask for the help we need and
- to commit to follow the truth and the lead of those who care most about us.
These are hard propositions to swallow, especially when we have to admit that we can’t do this individualistic life of a performance driven and a shame drenched culture that has corrupted our identity as created human beings
Growing up from childhood means taking responsibility for yourself in seeking the truth and admitting that you need help and ask for it while also sharing your help for those who need it.
Courage happens when we step up to be true to our true needs, be they emotional, physical or spiritual, in spite of those who would want to keep us trapped in unhealthy behaviours and cycles of anger, bitterness, fear and depression.
I had to make a choice one day. I was battling with sexual impurity for years and was too prideful to ask for the help that I needed. I believed I could do it on my own and because I was deeply ashamed and hurt without knowing it.
One day I did a thing that I am not proud of. I was watching impure ccontent online and texted with my then female acquaintance. When I woke up from my dopamine numbness, I knew I had to change because this was taking me to places that I did not want to go to.
I took the step to join program and group of guys who talked about sexual addiction and the God of truth to lead us out. I had to come out and admit that I needed help.
I realised that had hurt other in my addiction. I saw that I was broken and needed healing according to the truth. I took responsibility for myself and started investing in my recovery.
These steps were not for myself only, but also for all those who loved me all the way up to that day and especially for those who would soon enter my life.
We are not victims, we are human creatures who have been hurt by sin since the dawn of creation and who now have the choice to continue the cycle of hurt or to be redeemed to live loving and rich relationships under the caring hand of God. We have been given the choice. And that is great news!
Great News! There is HOPE!
What about you? Have you been stuck in certain ways of coping that you know are detrimental to your health and well-being? Have you considered taking responsibility for all the stress, anger and bitterness that make your life seem so terrible?
I took responsibility for my choices of the past! We can choose to live a responsible life and it only needs one step to start living free. I can help you process through the most important questions of this journey and you can choose what to do about it.
I invite you today to take the step and be courageous and get in contact with me. Do not let isolation and shame get the the best of you. You are worth it and God knows it!
Learn more about the author on the Simple Man page.
King James Version (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.