May 24, 2010

Taking Responsibility

Wow! The past couple nights have I been dreaming! It seems like from the moment my head hits the pillow until the time I wake up, I am in a constant dream cycle. The dreams, all very vivid and full of color, are practically about the same thing. They are prophetic, meaning that they have relevance to something actually happening in my life at this time. They are not foreteliing -- which is what most people think of when you say something is "prophetic." In the true Biblical sense of the word, prophetic simply means something that has significance and meaning. For me, these dreams are specific to my situation at home.

One of the dream cycles dealt with me being found in various situations where I needed assistance, help, and not finding the one person who normally is there to help me. In these dreams, I found myself and my son stuck, literally stuck in various places, with no way to get home. We look for my husband (and his dad), but he is not around. Moreover, our things, our stuff (clothes, etc.) are no where to be found as well. I end up having to make arrangements to get us home. I even attempt contact via cell phone only to find that I don't have a cell phone (which is not the case). I am not frantic or anything, it is more of a calmness where I simply see myself (as I am watching the movie-like dream) looking around for my husband, who cannot be found.

The second dream cycle, the one I had all last night was very similar. In it, I found myself at a restaurant and once again was ready to leave to go home. I went to get my car, this time finding it, but also finding myself stuck in a bad situation. I was blocked in, unable to get my car out of the parking lot. I recall having a conversation with a man who was telling me that he wouldn't move his vehicle, but that if I came back before closing, I could get my car out. I told him I wanted to get it out now, and he just gave me excuse after excuse why that wasn't possible. I was getting more and more angry with this man, because clearly the answer was for him to get into his car and simply move it! Argh! I finally forced this man (through my words and strong action) to move his vehicle. I got in mine and maneuvered (really had to maneuver) to get it free. I did and drove away. The next instant I realized that this was a situation I would normally defer to my husband, but after seeking him before confronting this man, and not finding him or his car at the restaurant, I took control and did what needed to be done.

In both cases, the dreams are significant and point to habits and behaviors I have either relied on or been forced to use over the course of my marriage. My DH often was not around or didn't choose to be responsible for a specific thing, preferring instead to let me take control and do whatever needed done. In the early years, I responded to this behavior with anger, with tears and with pleading. After a time, I simply gave in and did what needed so that I would avoid the condemnation and shame I felt at being irresponsible. Later on, it became habit to me. I would look for him to do something, ask and even plead, and then when that failed, I would simply do it. This waiting bit is really crux of my dreams.

As I have blogged on this topic for nearly ten months now, one element is clear for me. I have been waiting for a very long time, waiting for my husband to do the right thing. And, not just about our marriage, but about everything. I have waited through bad financial decisions, bad business choices, and bad personal/integrity choices. I have waited for him to step up and take the ball and start doing what I thought was right and best. Of course, all couples have issues as such. Not every marriage is united, always choosing the right course of action. But, most have a working philosophy that says "we won't cross this line," regardless of personal choice.

In my case, I simply wanted us not to cross the line, to take responsibility, the minimal kind of responsibility (pay the bills on time, don't buy what we cannot afford, do not say we will do something when we have no intention of keeping our word, etc.) These are kinds of things I consider to be the "minimum" when it comes to good and proper behavior. Rarely though, did we do those things. Most of the time, we simply chose to put things off until by default -- we defaulted or were forced by a higher authority (like lawyers or the police) to do what was to be done. I hated this all the while it was taking place, and I stressed over it, praying it would not be, and often having to grit my teeth and suffer through it when it did come to pass.

I know, I should have said "enough" and walked away. Yes, I should have done that, but I chose to stick it out, believing that if I was patient enough, and waited long enough, RIGHT would triumph and the truth would hold fast. I guess it is the way I am wired mentally, I simply believe in Justice and Truth and Fairness, and believe that in the end, eventually THEY will win.

With these dreams freshly in mind, I am at a point where I have to accept what they are saying to me. Some people don't put a lot of stock in dreams, and it isn't as if I believe everything I dream. No, that is not the case with me. I simply look at what they are saying to me and then if they prove true, I accept it as truth. These dreams are true in my case. These are true examples of what has happened over and over again and again in my life. I have waited for the right thing, the right time, and the right person to do what needed done. The problem is that the right person was not doing what needed done because I WAS THAT RIGHT PERSON.

You see, no matter how much I wanted my husband to do the right thing, and I did; I allowed the wrong thing to be done simply because of my unwillingness to accept responsibility that was not mine. I have read the book, "Boundaries" by Dr.'s Cloud and Townsend, and it is a good. I have actually put boundaries in place in my marriage and in my personal life -- and they have helped me keep from taking responsibility that was not mine to take. In short, I have learned to say "No, that is not my responsibility," and then hand it back to the person who is trying to give it to me. The problem, though, was that over the course of my life and marriage, I stubbornly refused to take responsibility when I saw that my action would not prevent heartache or sorrow or even financial loss to occur. I chose to be adamant and keep the LAW about who was to do what, when the reality of the situation was begging ME to take control, to take over, and to say "enough."

I don't want to spend a lot of time going over past mistakes, there is no real need in that; but, there is value in recognizing that at this point in my life, I am still doing the very same thing. I am in a different situation now, a situation where no one BUT ME is acting responsible. If I am a single person, then the "buck" falls to me, so to speak. No one is going to step in and save me from poor financial decisions or from poor personal choices, KWIM? I cannot continue to behave like I have before -- expecting Robin Hood and His Merry Men to swash on by and drop a sack full of coins in my lap. Nope, it is up to me to do the right thing now, and againt tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow.

As I review these dreams and what value they hold for me, this is what I take away from them: I am a person who craves responsibility. I am a person who holds integrity in the highest position of honor. I am a person who literally will fight to be loyal and will battle to the end for "the good, the right, the best, and the one thing that matters most." I won't give up, I won't give in. This is my personal testimony -- the key now is to make sure that I am always fighting for what Paul calls "the good fight;" and, not waste my time fighting that which will not stand the test of time (wood, hay and stubble).

So where does this leave me? I think it simply reminds me that from now on, the responsibility falls squarely to me, and I can either reach my hand out and take hold and do the "right thing" or I can repeat the past simply by allowing old patterns and habits to do what they naturally do (as a stream follows the path of least resistance -- so can our habits and behaviors). No, that is not what I want nor is it what the Lord asks of us. He calls us to account here in Earth just as surely as He calls us to account in Heaven. We are to live quiet and peaceable lives and follow the Word of God as closely as possible. This means working to earn a living wage, paying laborers what is due them, giving to Caesar what is owed, and giving to those in need. I want to do all these things, and have before me the chance to do so. As I embark on this new journey, I can choose to do what I must or I can wait for someone to show up and do it for me.

I have thought about it this a lot, and know that no one is coming in to save me (or my marriage or my financial situation or any other distress that has been caused by sin). No, the Lord has shown me a way out, but it is not through a "hand out." It is through doing the right thing, day in and day out, it is by being responsible and honorable, and it is by keeping His Word and His Commands and remaining faithful to them. This is the path I have chosen to follow, and it is the path that I know will lead me to finish this race in good stead. I do not want to stand before Him and be ashamed of my choices -- not after He has rescued me, and set my feet on the solid and secure path that leads toward Him.

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