After being married for just under six months, the oil light came on in my car. I at least knew enough to go to the gas station and have someone check it. The very kind man checked my car and said, “Miss, you need oil. But more importantly, you need your oil changed. It is very dirty. When was the last time you had it changed???” With that question I realized, “I owned my car and it was my responsibility to take care of it!” Another realization was how much my mom and dad had done for me without me ever noticing. The first year of marriage brought many first time lessons for me. Among those lessons, ownership and personal responsibility were brought to an ALL NEW LEVEL!
Taking ownership of our lives is similar to owning something. If you own it, then you also control it. When we own a car, we can choose where we drive it, how we drive it, how we take care of it, and how much we value it, and even choose our attitude toward our car……Funny that we have opportunities to trade in or purchase a new or used car…..but our lives…..our one life is all that we are given. We can’t trade ourselves in! The quote is so true, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” We have such a loving God, who wants to be the ultimate Master of our lives, but He gives us the choice. It is called our free will. We have the choice to choose or reject HIM.
Taking responsibility for our lives involves our emotional responses, attitude, relationships, finances, morality, spirituality, feelings, choices, career, stress, guilt and addictions. Sometimes we don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react and respond.
For years I have known the scripture found in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answers turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger!” It is one of the first scriptures I taught our children when they were young. It is a very deep scripture…. as I have done more in-depth study of the Bible over the last 6 years, I have determined this scripture is saying: You own your reaction to someone else’s anger!! Yes, just because someone else is angry, frustrated or upset, and that emotion may even be directed towards you……it does NOT mean YOU have to OWN IT.
This is what I believe God meant when He said, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who is angry stops being angry…..but you choosing to be gentle and choosing not to own their wrath…..protects YOU. This can be very challenging to do…..learning to choose your own emotional response is a huge step in being RESPONSIBLE for your life.
Emotional reactions are something we all experience every day. Just being aware that YOU are RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU REACT….is huge. Taking a strong sense of personal ownership in this area…..can lead to a better, more peaceful and fulfilled life. Just realizing……you own your emotional reaction but you are not responsible for, nor should you acquire, someone else’s emotion.
My point here is that there are a number of possible responses to the emotion of others. We are free to decide which direction to go in making our response. God’s word is rich in wisdom, giving us direction to all of life’s responsibilities. Choosing to apply God’s wisdom in our responses to others pays huge dividends in, not only ownership, but it increases the value and quality of what you do own.