October 14, 2014
Somebody Stop Me!
Faithful are the wounds of a friend(Proverbs 27:6).
Friend to Friend
A certain expert guide lived in the deserts of Arabia. He was known for his tracking skills. He never lost his way. The secret of his success could be found in the fact that he carried with him a homing pigeon that had a very fine cord attached to one of its legs. When he had doubts as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air. The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, leading the guide accurately to his goal. Because of this unique practice, he was known as "the dove man."
We always need connections to those who will point us in the right direction. We will take the wrong path or make a wrong turn, and there will be times when we have no idea which way to go or how to get home. We must then turn to God and to those who hold us accountable.
Accountability is often seen as confining, a relationship straight jacket that limits freedom of expression and hinders those who “march to the beat of a different drummer.” Actually, the opposite is true. Accountability frees us to grow and change, and is an important part of every healthy relationship.
When I married into the Southerland family, I didn’t know that tent camping was part of the deal. But I loved Dan Southerland and he loved camping. So I decided I could learn to camp and maybe even enjoy it. My first trip with Dan’s family to Lake Greason in the foothills of the Ozarks was quite an experience. It did not take me long to learn the daily routine.
Each morning, Dan’s mom would prepare a huge breakfast after which the kids did dishes while mom changed into her swimsuit, donned her sunglasses, grabbed a towel, and headed for the lake. On the shore, she would grab an inner tube, position her towel in just the right spot over the tube, turn around, and sit down. She would then float blissfully for hours.
There was a slight problem with this free-floating plan.
Lake Greason had a current that carried Mom down the lake, around the bend and into the path of ski boats. Several times a day, someone would have to swim after her and pull her back to the safety of the shore. She always sweetly and profusely thanked her rescuer … and then right back to floating.
Finally, one of the kids came up with a great idea. Get a rope! We grabbed a ski rope, tied one end to Mom’s inner tube and the other end to a wooden stake driven securely into the ground. She could then float until the rope ran out and someone “reeled her in.”
What a perfect picture of accountability – giving someone who loves you the permission to “reel you in” when they see you headed in a dangerous direction. When we willingly make ourselves accountable to others, we are creating a hedge of protection that ultimately yields boundaries, parameters or behavioral lines that should not be crossed.
Honestly, most of us have experienced very little accountability in life because at the heart of being accountable to someone is the willingness to be submissive to them.
Submission is not a dirty word. We have abused the concept of submission. It was never intended to be demeaning. Submission is protection and an intentional willingness to consider first the desires and wishes of another before our own. Submission is a harnessed and controlled strength that is born out of obedience to God’s command.
Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
God places others in our lives to see things we cannot see, to encourage and build up, to correct, love and protect. Accountability is not a crutch, and submission as not a weakness.
Jesus submitted Himself to the will of His father. He willingly laid down His desires and dreams, His plans and hopes in total submission. Out of that absolute surrender came the most powerful life ever lived. When we willingly submit ourselves to God and choose to make ourselves accountable to others, we will experience a freedom and power we have never known before.
Father, I come to You today, submitting myself to You. Thank You for the protection, direction and power that comes from that submission. Forgive me when I have stood in silence while someone I loved made dangerous decisions. Give me the courage to confront in love. Give me the wisdom to receive correction and to be accountable to others. Thank You for Your love that never condemns but always stands ready to keep me from making mistakes. And when I do fall, thank You for being there to pick me up and walk with me.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read and think about Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are wounds of a friend.” What does this verse mean to you? How does it relate to accountability? What one change do you need to make in your life so that you can experience the hedge of protection accountability offers.
More from the Girlfriends
Friendship is the springboard to every other love and the foundation for every healthy relationship. Helen Keller once said, "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." Friends make life a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding. Yet, many of us struggle to find true friendship and don't know what it means to be a real friend. I Need a Friend is a six-week-study that offers nine steps we can take to experience the vibrant relationships for which we were created. Check it out! And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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Originally published Tuesday, 14 October 2014.