"Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow,
the better your chances."
Proverbs 11:14 (The Message)
Accountability. That's what I get from this verse. Do you have anyone you need to be accountable to? Your spouse, perhaps. When we're young we're accountable to our parents. What about someone outside of your family, who helps keep you on track. People in Alcoholics Anonymous have sponsors that they're accountable to. People in Weight Watchers are accountable to someone. But, what about us folks who aren't in programs like those? Who do we turn to, outside of our family, for accountability?
I'm sure everyone reading this is thinking I'm looking for the one answer that's always right: Jesus. And that is correct. But, I'm talking about a person who we see, in the here and now, in flesh and bone. Yes, Jesus is the ultimate accountability partner, but I'm talking about another person that we can meet with face-to-face. We need wise counsel and good direction from fellow believers.
I have a few close friends I can turn to for accountability. And my husband and I were just invited to a discipleship group at our church, which we're doing. I have also attended another women's group which is great for accountability for me. So, I do have a few things, but I haven't always used them to keep me accountable. I don't open up and share what's really on my heart with them. Well, I do, at times, with my close friends, but not often enough.
What holds me back? Fear. Oh man - there's that 4-letter word again! I get afraid to let people in too close because I don't want to be judged. Because, like so many humans, I want to look good. "I can't let people know what I'm struggling with because they might not think I'm as good a Christian as I want them to think!" When I think like this, I'm no better than a Pharisee. They looked oh, so holy on the outside, but on the inside they were rotting flesh. And that's what I'm like when I don't allow people in and seek wise counsel.
Does this mean I should just bear my heart and soul to everyone I know? Of course not. We need to determine who is a safe person for us - someone who doesn't gossip would be a great choice! Someone who is following the Lord, so that when we're struggling, they will keep our eyes focused on Christ. Someone who has walked the paths we're walking in our lives. And it can be more than one person. I have friends I turn to for different things. Friends who have adopted, get my adoption-related questions. Friends who have older teens, get my teen-related questions. Friends who have walked the path of a loved-one's addiction get my 'having-an-alcoholic-husband' questions.
It is so important to have people in our lives who can help keep us on the right path. We can't afford to lose our way in this life! There are too many treacherous things out there. We need to keep wise people in our lives so our chances of making it through this life are better. Those wise people need to be people who have a relationship with the Lord, because there ARE going to be times where we wander from the path and get lost, and we're going to need people with strong faiths to get us back on track.
I am so grateful to all the people I'm blessed to have in my life who have walked the treacherous path with me and have lovingly brought me back to the right path time and time again.