I know you want to answer affirmatively but can I ask that you pause and think about it before you answer?
We are now in 2022 (Happy New Year!). It is particularly important and no, I am not talking about new year resolutions. I am talking about the person we are in our minds and becoming that person in real life, starting in this new year.
There is someone currently in my life. He was a friend, I don’t know what he is now. I am figuring that part out. Anyway, he had a habit of saying he would do things for me – both the things I asked for and things I did not ask for – things that were his idea. He always had the best intentions. However, 95% of the time, he would not come through with his promises. He never did what he said he would do. After a while, his every promise would be met with an eye roll and an unenthusiastic, “okay“. I grew to expect nothing from him. Yet, he swears he is dependable and I understand that he believes it too. He is not.
I have another friend who made sure he never promised me a thing. Instead, he would say, “let me get back to you” or “no” and the next time I saw him, he would have either done what was asked of him OR ready to do what was asked of him. If he could not do a thing, he would say so. If he said he would, he would. I also responded with an “okay” but a part of me would wonder if he would come through despite his solid track record (my default is to not expect so I am not routinely disappointed – I am working on this too!). He always goes out of his way to make sure he does not disappoint me. He too would say he was dependable and he would be correct.
Then there is me. It is always easy to sit and analyse everyone else. I have to ask myself this question also. Am I reliable? Do I do what I say I will? What percentage would my friends give me if they were asked? My Mum, for example, would say I was not because even though I do what is asked of me, I take my sweet time to do so. Does that make me unreliable where my Mum is concerned? I don’t know.
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” – Matthew 5:37 NKJV
I used to think that this was only applicable to lying and witness statements but I realise that this also applies to other areas. In this case, it applies to my boundaries. It applies to my reliability and dependability as a person (colleague, friend, relative – human being) i.e. do I do what I say I will do or am I flaky? What reputation do I have? A flaky somebody like person A or a reliable person like person B?
I have a friend who is always theoretically trying to add me as an emergency contact and who keeps asking why he cannot call me when there is an emergency. My response is always the same. “Why are you calling me? Call the Police“. It makes me laugh because despite my unreliability in emergencies, I have made it clear to all and sunder that I am not the person to call. I can almost guarantee that my phone will be on silent mode. If they now have expectations of me in an emergency, that is no fault of my own. I have made my position clear – my no is my no.
The more I learn about healthy boundaries and Jesus, the more I realise the importance of being a person people can rely on whether it is a reliance to say no. The more I understand the value of integrity, the more I want to be trustworthy in the big things and in the little things. I want to be a ‘boundaried’ person.
I want to make a promise and the response is a positive expectation because I can be trusted and have proven to be dependable enough to fulfil that promise. I want my yes(es) to be bankable…like Jesus.
1. Would you describle yourself as reliable/dependable?
Whatever your response is, if you would like to be a trustworthy and dependable person, start small. When next you make a promise, make a note and ensure you do what you promised to do – even if you have to set a reminder to do it. Practice this for 30 calendar days and see how you feel.
Let us pray…
Heavenly Father, help me be more like Jesus in ensuring that my yes is my yes and also in saying no. Help me to fulfil my promises and give me the courage to say no when I am unable to meet a need. Let this be my reality in all things, big and small. In Jesus name, Amen.
Love and Blessings,