January 31, 2019
In life, shakings naturally happen. Shakings may be physical, like an earthquake. But there are also circumstances that shake our security, convictions, and even our faith. When earthquakes happen, we are taught to duck, cover, and hold. And when we experience a shaking to our identity and faith, we have to do something similar to that.
Growing up, there were a lot of things that shook my life, which I decided to just keep to myself. These things include personal issues, family concerns, and even people’s opinion about me. The pain and emotions I felt because of these issues hit me like a strong earthquake, with multiple aftershocks.
I never liked telling others about my problems, let alone asking them for help. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that these people also have problems and I didn’t want to add to their troubles.
So, I faced them by myself and wished that I ducked quickly enough to avoid the big blows. I tried solving problems on my own, until I could not stand them anymore.
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with so many concerns but you couldn’t cry out for help even if you needed to?
That’s what it feels like whenever we keep things to ourselves. We come up with reasons why we don’t need to involve people in our situation; sometimes these reasons are even valid. But the question is, would it hurt if we try to ask for help? What would happen if we open up, share our lives, and let others guide us with their wisdom and cover us with their prayers?
Keeping things to ourselves does not solve our problems. Carrying our burdens alone makes the burden feel heavier than it actually is. I used to think that I should never share my burdens with other people, until somebody helped change my perspective about being accountable. She told me, “When we let other people know about what’s happening to us, it can only help us.”
This is what people call “accountability,” when we let trusted people know about our situations, allow them speak into these situations, and ask them to cover us with prayer. Accountability gives us covering and security whenever we need clarity, support, or prayers.
Below are three factors you might want to consider as you choose accountability partners:
Proximity is about physical distance. In choosing your accountability partners, choose people who see up close how you live, handle your daily situations, and respond to problems you face. These are people whom you spend most of your time with; they know you so well that they can easily spot when something is not right. You may ask them to help you be guarded against your weakness, overcome it, and even build new habits.
These are men and women who have witnessed your growth. They may not always be physically present, but you know that they play an important role in your life. Because of your relationship with them, their input significantly influences your decision. They are the people who know you enough to pinpoint blind spots in your life. As you share with them your unfiltered thoughts, they can give you an objective perspective and allow you to see how you can approach the problems you face.
The people who lead us in a discipleship group or in any other setting can also hold us accountable in the way we live. Because these leaders have already gone ahead of us in terms of life experience, they have gained wisdom through the things they have overcome—things that we might still be struggling with. You may start building this kind of relationship with these leaders, ask them to check on you, and allow them to help you and challenge you.
Your accountability partners are those who love you enough to disagree with you when the need arises and tell you things that you need to hear. I have learned that being accountable to someone is better than being trapped in the fear of disappointment, the endless cycle of shame and people-pleasing, and thinking that I can do it everything by myself.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (NLT)
We are always better together. We are not meant to live this life alone or face struggles alone. God designed us to need one another, and accountability is one of the ways that He grows us not just in our faith but also in relationship with Him and others.