Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018
By Nathan Rice
They yelled, “You’re speeding!” in unison from the backseat of the car. I glanced at my speedometer and, traveling at 58 miles per hour, I was technically going faster than the legal limit of 55.
The GPS is what gave me away. My traveling speed is displayed on the bottom left corner of the display, and the background color of the current speed turns a light red when the speed limit is exceeded. It’s a feature I like, but it’s a feature the little backseat drivers absolutely love.
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I’ve explained that it’s difficult to go the exact speed limit all of the time, and that sometimes it’s OK to be just a few miles over the limit. Nevertheless, those in the backseat seem too often look at the speed listed on the GPS, waiting for the background to turn a light red. A pastor, they remind me, is not supposed to break the law.
I will admit I’m not always thrilled when they point out my speed, but knowing their eyes are watching does cause me to keep better track of how fast I am traveling. Accountability, if we allow it, can be a good thing.
We must first be willing to take advice and accept what may sound like criticism from others. We often put up our guard and become defensive the moment someone presents us with something that sounds like a negative. I suppose it’s a natural reaction, but it’s a reaction we must overcome. We’re often blind to our own weaknesses, which means we’ll never see some areas in ourselves that need improvement if we refuse to listen to others. While some things can be hard to hear, we must be willing to listen and honestly consider what others bring to our attention.
We should also willingly put things in our lives that will help hold us accountable. Those who are trying to become healthier may join a group of people all striving for the same goal. There are some striving for weight loss who download an app where every bite taken is logged, including meals and each three-calorie breath mint. The idea is the same either way. The goal is to have someone or something that reminds us that we will be held accountable for our choices. Accountability often won’t happen unless we ask others for their help.
Honesty is also needed whenever we talk about accountability. What’s the point in allowing others to ask us difficult questions if we’re not going to give them honest answers? There is no way those we’ve chosen to help us along our journey can assist us if they don’t know the truth. It can be hard to admit we fell short of the goal, slipped back into a previous way of living, or simply messed up once again, but honesty with those holding us accountable is crucial if we’re going to improve.
Accountability isn’t always pleasant, but it is important. I don’t enjoy going to my doctor, but I let him poke and prod me, because I know he’s only trying to help. The same can be said for accountability. Find someone who can help you, listen to advice and be willing to answer difficult questions honestly. It’s not always easy, but it is needed if we truly want to grow.
Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at email@example.com.