The One-Life Solution
Henry Cloud’s The One-Life Solution could just as easily be titled How to Win at Life. He basically covers the key issues that can sabotage us in our pursuit of a life worth living, and gives next steps in how to address them.
The fundamental issue is learning how to set boundaries. Either we will set them for our lives, or other people will control what we do and how we live. Given that alternative, it’s worth whatever it takes to learn how to set boundaries—decide for ourselves what we will and won’t do, and how we will use our time and energy.
“Most people try to control things they can’t control. All we can really control is ourselves.” That is one of the most important truths any pastor can learn. I know many pastors who feel responsible for how their people live—and I’ve seen how destructive it can be. I remember as a young pastor realizing that I was working harder to help some people change than they were working at their own change. It was a relief, and very healthy, to commit to not working harder for someone than they would work for themselves.
The distinction between being responsible for someone vs. being responsible to them has been very helpful in that regard. I am not responsible for what anyone else does, or for what choices they make. I am responsible to tell them the truth, encourage them, and love them. The difference is that I can control the latter things, but not the former.
Pastors, and leaders, who don’t understand the difference will either burn out or become controlling, as they work hard to make sure people do what is “right.” Neither is a good outcome.
I was also challenged, in particular, by this one sentence: In life, you will get what you tolerate. Ouch! That puts the responsibility squarely on me for my life. If someone is being disrespectful, and I tolerate it, it will continue to happen. If someone is chronically late, and I tolerate it, it will continue. There is no one else to blame but myself.
That has caused me to look at my life with fresh eyes. What things in my life am I tolerating? What would change if I stopped tolerating them? That question could be answered superficially, or possibly in an unhealthy, selfish way. I don’t want to do that—but I am taking the time to think about that question, with the perspective that it’s my responsibility to address it, not somebody else’s. I can’t expect anyone else to do anything different if I don’t speak up about it.
What about you? What did you take away from your reading?
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