In Belize a wealthy man will oftentimes have a ‘side-kick’, a man of lesser means who goes with him everywhere. The wealthy man gives him the keys to his vehicle to drive him around, takes him on trips with him, etc. The sidekick benefits so much from being with the wealthy man that it’s easy for him to start to think that he is entitled to the things the wealthy man owns, and to share in the respect that man has earned. He may forget that he operates in that role solely at the leisure of his wealthy ‘friend’, and that can all be taken away from him in one fell swoop, and he would have no say in it.
Like that sidekick, we sometimes wind up taking ownership of things in other people’s lives that we have no business taking ownership of.
By ‘ownership’, I mean thinking, and behaving, as if a thing or person belongs to you, because in your heart and mind, you really feel and believe they do. This concept is exemplified in the ‘sidekick’ role.
A good test to know if you should take ownership in something is if you have a say in it. The ‘Boundaries’ series of books teaches that we are each responsible for the following in our own lives: feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, limits, desires, thoughts, values, talents, and love. We are not responsible for those things in other people.
The Holy Spirit works in a way that is out of our hands. We do our best, but ultimately, He is the one who gets things rolling. It is His work. Oftentimes though, we think it is ours. If we can do this with the Holy Spirit, how much more are we doing this in our daily lives with the people around us? Sometimes, we don’t even know that we are doing it.
‘Taking ownership’ is now a buzz-phrase, a thing we are told to do especially with our work; but where is the balance between ‘doing everything as unto the Lord’ in your work, and understanding that there are powers that be who make decisions without taking you into consideration? Do you have a say in those decisions? At what level should you be taking ownership of what’s happening there?
Let’s get even more real. Sometimes we go taking a hold of other people’s dreams and healing, and latching onto them as our own. Or, we hold on to dreams of what we want for others, (never mind what they want for themselves).
At the end of it all we will be judged for our choices, actions, words, and values, not anyone else’s. Those are the things we are to take ownership of because those are the things we will have to answer for.
Allowing ourselves to see where we are taking ownership of other people’s feelings, attitudes, faith, healing, dreams, choices, and actions, is not a comfortable place to find ourselves. Oh, but the freedom that comes when we finally let go; when we finally understand that it’s okay to not be that sidekick in another person’s life.
When you focus on your choices, actions, feelings, thoughts, values, attitudes, and faith, you learn how to let others operate in this freedom as well.
The reality is, that thing you are holding on that doesn’t belong to you in first place, is like dust. The winds of time will blow it away from out of your hands. You can choose to stand there with clenched fists, angry and bitter that you’ve lost that which was never yours to begin with. Or, you can dust yourself off, and start taking ownership of the things that you actually do have a say in.
So, if you have a say in it, claim it. If you don’t, let it go.
© Debbie Mendoza
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