Most of us are ok with disappointing ourselves. We do it all the time. We say we’ll be dressed by 7:30 am but the bed just feels too warm and comfortable so we reason, “Well, 7:45 will be ok…” Or, we say, “I’m going to exercise three times a week!” but then we only see the gym occasionally at best.
At some level, most of us are ok with disappointing others. This one is a little more difficult depending on whom we are disappointing and what we are or are not doing. For example, are we talking about not showing up for a doctor’s appointment until 5 minutes late or are we talking about missing an important deadline at the office or are we talking about cheating on a spouse. As the degree of relationship and covenant increases, the tension and disappointment of breaking that promise becomes increasingly difficult but, as we can all attest, such infractions are not uncommon.
Ultimately, the highest and best form of accountability comes from love. When you love, fulfilling your duties becomes an act of devotion. Exercising is not longer drudgery and being on time is not an inconvenience—rather, they are sacrifices you willingly make because of your love/devotion to the person/idea that you are sacrificing to please.
For the Believer, accountability begins and ends with our love for God and His call on our lives. What is it that you know God has called you to do? How are you giving yourself to His cause? Do you fear that you will stand before Him with excuses having wasted the gifts of energy, influence, relationships, money and time that He has blessed you with? If not, you should. That kind of fear is very healthy and warranted. Perfect love casts out the fear of condemnation and introduces us to the fear of disappointing the One we love. Ultimately, accountability comes back to love.
Today, what is the thing you’ve been procrastinating about? What is the thing you’re dreading applying yourself too? What is the thing you know that is coming but keep failing to prepare for because you are “petrified” — literally, frozen, moved into non-action, by fear?
Friend, I encourage you to embrace true accountability by following these simple steps:
1. Ask God for greater love and reverential fear for Him. Acknowledge His “worthiness” to receive everything you can give Him.
2. Identify those things that God Himself has called you to do and write them down. For example, journal something like this:
“God, I genuinely believe that you want me to…”
3. Write down a plan of how to get from where you are to where you need to go.
4. Align your conversations, schedule and budget with the plan of God for your life.
5. Set times to measure progress and adjust your plan for greater fruitfulness.
When it’s all said and done, you are ok with disappointing yourself and others but when we cultivate a reverential love for God, that will put us on the path to getting the right things done.