Recently I’ve had several counselees come in all “uptight” about various responsibilities, sometimes feeling overwhelmed, and complaining that God was giving them more than they could handle. Stress, panic attacks, and resentment gave way to peace and trust as we worked through “Clarifying Responsibilities.” This chart was an excellent tool to help each of them evaluate what they believed they were responsible for. We looked at each item on their list to see in which column it really belonged.
One Mom was worrying about the health of her daughter. Yes, she had a responsibility to care for her daughter in specific ways because of special needs, but the ultimate outcome was in the Lord’s hands, not hers. The heaviest load she was carrying was actually what the Lord was already carrying for her. Understanding that principle actually freed her to do a better job of caring for the day-to-day needs of her daughter.
A student was worrying about grades and being the best in her class. We talked about how God had given her a good mind to honor him, not to stress out over grades. Her responsibility was to study adequately and then trust the outcome to the Lord. Her stress was actually detracting from her abilities. Trusting the Lord not only calmed her down, but also helped her to do her best for HIM, not for selfish motivations or higher grades. She was able to move several things to the “Concerns” column that had been on her “Responsibility” column inappropriately, like where her next step in education would be when there were many factors over which she had no control. She is learning to rest by trusting those decisions to the Lord.
How can you or your counselees use this tool? We often worry about or stress out over things not in our control. That is the time to move those items to the "Concerns” column and trust God with them. We may be overwhelmed with all we are asked to do at church or at school. Our desire to please people or gain recognition can move us to say yes to everything asked. Those things may be our concerns, but may not be God-given responsibilities. We may need to say no to some of the jobs given to us, and keep only the ones that we are passionate about because God had placed that burden of responsibility on our shoulders. But remember, if it’s responsibility, there’s also time and ability to accomplish that task as we cheerfully obey. We all have the same amount of time to steward, but are given different abilities and responsibilities in the kingdom.
I had three children to rear; I was concerned about yours and would have encouraged you, but yours were not my responsibility. Mine were my God-given responsibility. I am concerned about many good ministries, but God has not given me the responsibility to support every one of them. If I tried, I’d be overwhelmed and financially bankrupt! But there are certain ministries I want to support along with my local church. These are the responsibilities God has given me to obey within my budget.
I trust as you use this tool, it will help clarify for you whether God has called you to that responsibility, or if you put in upon your own shoulders. If you are overwhelmed, maybe it’s time to move some things to the “Concerns" column and trust in God!
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