The Role of Accountability in Balance

AccountabilityFor over 20 years, running partners made sure I regularly completed the miles needed for my goals. In recent years, I meet with a Godly woman from church for Biblical accountability. In writing, accountability comes through my critique partner as well as through Godly people I interact with online. And of course, my spouse provides accountability like no other person in my life.

What is Accountability?

Being accountable means being responsible & answerable. Accountability means not simply acting according to feelings, wants and desires but basing actions on what we believe is honorable and truthful.

Accountability keeps us from hurting ourselves and others by making us liable, responsible and answerable for our actions or lack of action. Without accountability, the door remains open for saying and doing just about anything we want.

Accountability and Balance

Accountability to God and to other Christians exists as a Biblical principle (see Galatians 6:1-5, Luke 17:3, James 5:16, Romans 14:12 & Hebrews 4:13.) It also serves to strengthen us in ways we could not discover on our own.

Accountability 2

But how does accountability help specifically with balance?

Accountability provides a source of wisdom for the adjustments needed to maintain balance and keep from toppling over under the pressure and stress of our overloaded and drama-filled lives. Simply put, allowing accountability to function properly makes balance easier to maintain. When I neglect and/or ignore accountability, my life quickly becomes unstable.

Accountability helps maintain balance because it…

  1. Encourages us. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Accountability helps us know what we’re doing right and gives direction for decisions. It also helps us know we’re not alone in our struggles.
  2. Improves us. (Proverbs 17:17) We need others to alert us to improvements as well as how to go about making them. Attempting to stay balanced alone just isn’t possible because we simply cannot accurately see everything about ourselves.
  3. Makes us think about our words. The Bible says we’ll be held accountable for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36-37). Accountability forces us to not only think about what we say but also about what influences exist at the heart of our words.
  4. Builds trust. (Luke 16:10-12) Letting Godly people speak into our lives exercises humbleness. It practices our willingness to open ourselves up to necessary change, and this stretches us in a way that allows for bigger responsibility as we gain a reputation for honesty and transparency.
  5. Realigns us when we mess up. (1 John 2:1-29 & James 5:16) We’re expected to mess up. That’s part of life this side of Heaven. So, the real test of solid character shows with how a person reacts after messing up. A willingness to be reshaped by the Godly wisdom of another goes a long way in getting back on track after making mistakes.

Establishing Accountability

Accountability only comes when we deliberately pursue it. This happens by being…

  • Open to it. This means not being defensive and instead being teachable. Accountability requires humbleness.
  • Transparent & honest. I need to share my weaknesses and struggles in order for another to truly be able to help me. The protective bubble surrounding my ego has to go.
  • Willing to receive it. Too many times, I’ve appeared open to accountability and then proceeded to ignore all wisdom coming my way. Be willing to apply and adjust using the wisdom gained through accountability.

Before I can be someone to whom another becomes accountable, I must make sure I am first willing to be accountable to another person. This in itself is another aspect of balance that accountability brings into a person’s life.

I wish I could say that I’ve always had this level of accountability in my life, but that would be a lie. Because I’ve been on the other end of the extreme, living a life completely absent of accountability, I can say with certainty that it is a necessity for maintaining a balanced life.

DISCUSSION: What role does accountability play in helping you maintain balance? If you’re out of balance, how can accountability help you find balance again?

Loren Pinilis at Life of a Steward offers additional insight into the topic of accountability in his recent post “The Key to Making Accountability Work.
Definitely worth taking the time to read!

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10 Replies to “The Role of Accountability in Balance”

  1. I really like the idea and your illustrations. Finding the right person to work with can be very challenging. Sometimes you think you can trust someone and be open only to have them suddenly start judging you, not just keeping you accountable, but in a negative way. I have had that happen and so it make it harder for me to trust others now. I can see where it would be helpful and I will look for ways to apply this to my life.

    1. You're so right, Mary. Finding the right person to trust can be very difficult. And I'm not really even talking about formal accountability situations necessarily.There are lots of accountability situations that happen sort of organically. Relationships always have that trust tug of war going on for certain. My approach is to realize that I can only do what I can do to build trust, and I focus on doing that. Keep me posted on application if you think about it.

  2. I'm blessed Kari. Rev is my accountability partner. We don't call it that, but as I read through your list he fits. I hope he would say the same about me. I think accountability is essential and something important for our children to learn early on.
    My recent post Loving Day – Love Knows No Color

    1. That's definitely a blessing, Deb. My husband is my main one too. You're right about children needing to learn it too. My oldest is very teachable, which makes him open to accountability. My 13-year-old, not so much yet. He does occasionally, but he hasn't really grasped the idea quite yet.

    1. Thanks, Barb. Yes, formal accountability can be very helpful. Most of my accountability comes informally though, just naturally through my deeper relationships. But when there's a specific habit or issue, then a more formal relationship is often necessary.

  3. One are my wife and myself are focusing more on is our health, more specifically working out on a regular basis. We are holding each other accountable. We recently got a YMCA membership and they offer child watch, so 2-3 times a week we drop off our son and workout together. It allows us to spend time together and work out. Great post!

    1. Great example, Dan. Exercise is definitely one area where accountability is essential. My husband and I don't workout a lot together, but we do encourage one another and hold each other accountable. We also have other exercise accountability in place. You're setting a terrific example for your son in several ways. Keep it up!

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