The Power and Pressure of that Word

Inks on Paper Scrap – Words: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We all say we are ready, think we are ready, and yet our actions do not match our message. Enthusiasm and hard work only go hand in hand when we have chosen to be ready to actually do the work, in other words when we are ready for responsibility.

Ugh! That word can feel so daunting, make us feel so weary, so old, so worn down – responsibility. It means we are the one who gets it done, no matter what. We are the one putting in the effort, the time, the labors to make things happen, and the one who will be praised or beaten up if things do not go right. We think we are ready for responsibility, the real question is are we willing to change in order to get the work done?

Being responsible means what we want may not come first or even get done at all. Other things then take up our time and before we know it our day is done and our to do list still has items not checked off. We can stay up late, get up early, work harder, work smarter, ask for help and we even have the option to say “NO”.

Whatever we choose, we must think about what is possible for us to complete versus what will make us look good. Rank those to do items in order of importance – importance to who is the question? To us, to the boss, to our family, our community, our self? Is life or death involved, safety, financial deadlines or budget constraints? Will we lose face, hurt ourselves or someone else by not getting something on the list done? Is all the pressure we are feeling really there or is it self imposed? Are we expecting perfection when everyone else just wants it done, no matter how it gets done? Lots of questions swirling around in our head, leaving us wondering and weary.

When I feel this way I start writing out lists, take a very deep breath and touch base with someone not involved to help provide perspective on everything that is driving me mad. Telling someone else how I feel somehow lets the frantic air out of my balloon and helps me gain perspective. It of course assumes I have someone in my life I trust enough to tell about all the zaniness in my world without feeling judged. Once we finish that conversation and I have an updated, more productive mindset I can then tackle that to do list one thing at a time. Once that first things gets finished the dominoes that have pilled up begin to crash, go away, and I feel better.

Responsibility is a great word, a powerful word, a worrisome word and one that can drive us mad if we let it. The key is to know the signs of our own zaniness and put in place things to release our self imposed pressures. Take a deep breath, give it time, and get that first thing done. One thing at a time, just one thing…then after that everything somehow feels possible.

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