Between my house and my office, there’s a lot going on. Loads of cars, regularly changing road construction, and school just started back, so, now, even more cars.
And more mornings than I’m willing to admit, I’m late.
But I’ve started something new. Normally, as sitting in traffic my mind is running through all the reasons why this is not my fault. How if all the world around me would just get itself in shape, my decisions–which were really quite responsible–would have worked.
But it doesn’t. I’m not a cynic, but I know the world has no desire to conform to my wishes. Not only did it not ask me, but it doesn’t even appear to be constructed for my success. Imagine that.
So I started doing something a bit counterintuitive. I started treating it like it’s all my fault. Traffic—my fault. Late—my fault. That guy who cut me off and caused me to slam on my brakes spilling my very-special morning coffee on my white button-up just 30 minutes before a meeting—my fault.
Of course these aren’t really my fault. And I know that. But what I’m saying is that I’ve started to take the responsibility for them.
As I’ve been doing this for some time now, I’ve noticed two things about me have changed for the better.
I Think Different
Instead of thinking about the things I directly impact, I’m now thinking about the things that will be impacting me. This is not a mic-drop revelation, I know. In fact, I’ve read about and heard about this this kind of thinking for a long time.
But while I knew about it, making this shift in responsibility is what has helped me to implement it.
That’s the first thing. But something bigger has happened, too.
I Make Better Widgets
Taking on the responsibility for everything that intersects my path causes me to think about who I am as a person. This is one of those reflective things.
As a follower of Jesus, I’m a person who lives free from what’s too much for me. In other words, perfection is both my standard and desire, but it’s no longer my measure.
I’m not off the hook of all my messes. But I do know that someone bigger than me says they will make sure I still make it.
It’s easy to forget all this stuff when, for the most part, life is good. I live in a rich country. I have two cars, my own house, and a wonderful family. And each day, I get to work with smart and passionate people. I’m thinking relatively here. Most people in the world live on two or three dollars a day. I live very well, indeed.
But making the mental shift of blame–taking on the responsibility for all the problems that do come my way forces me back to what made a follower of Jesus in the first place—I’m not enough.
So, maybe, it should be all your fault, too?