Ten Things That Aren’t My Job

Confession time.  Lately I’ve realized there are a number of things in my life that really aren’t up to me. I may have a role to play in them or I may wish I had more influence over them, but the end result is actually out of my hands. Frankly, if I’m to be truthful, this is kind of a relief.

Here are ten, in no particular order.

flickr.com/Alejandra Movroski

It’s not my job:

1. To bring others around to my way of thinking – I am entitled to my opinion and have a responsibility to form these opinions based on truth and prayerful consideration. But ultimately it’s not up to me to decide for someone else or attempt to convince them of a different point of view, however well-intentioned I may think I am.

2. To manufacture my own “moments” – The lovely, serendipitous experiences where God comes crashing into my consciousness cannot be forced; they are gifts to be received. I need only to be open to them.

3. To guarantee my adult daughter’s happiness and/or success – I do her no good by keeping her dependent on me and trying to shield her from pain. It diminishes her own awareness of God’s involvement in her life and is selfish on my part.

4. To convince anyone that I deserve to be loved – Though being loved and protected is something I yearn for and value deeply, it must be freely given and graciously accepted. Stamping my foot doesn’t help.

5. To rank my skills and talents alongside anyone else’s in terms of importance or value – Comparison is a deadly rut to get stuck in and only diminishes the traits being compared. Who says I get to decide where my gifts rank (or fall short) anyway?

6. To school other drivers in common courtesy – I have no authority on the road – neither a flashing red light and siren nor a driving school logo on the door. So my only tool is to be annoying in return, which just exacerbates the problem. A little grace and patience along with that tank of gas takes me a lot further.

7. To pray hard enough or long enough to right any wrongs or order any randomness – While I’m sure He appreciates that I am spending time with Him, my nagging is not what moves God to action. Nor does failing to nag affect the outcome in the opposite direction. To think otherwise is arrogant of me and bespeaks my controlling nature.

8. To correct someone else’s grammar (unless they ask me, then I’m all over it . . . politely, of course!) – A corollary: it’s also not my job to regularly point out the failures of American society (and the media) in general when it comes to proper English usage. That’s almost as irritating as poor punctuation and griping about it doesn’t add anything to the intellect of society anyway.

9. To change another person’s attitude by disapproving of the way they currently act – Going all righteous on someone does not inspire them to change. Checking out emotionally is also ineffective. Leaving the changing up to them and their Creator could just be the best approach.

10. To protect God’s reputation – He’s just fine with being unknowable and mysterious; He doesn’t need me to handle His PR and try to explain His attributes. Whew.

I’m sure I could come up with quite a few more, but this primes the pump of my thinking for now.

 How about you? What are some things you could point to that are not your job?

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

27 thoughts on “Ten Things That Aren’t My Job”

    1. I’m with you! What drives me crazy is seeing flashy, glossy publications (including alumni publications from prestigious universities) that obviously cost someone a bundle and they have grammar and punctuation errors in them! How do they not catch these things?

    1. It really is freeing to consider what I’m responsible for and what is beyond my control. What’s even better is knowing that none of it is beyond God’s control. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  1. I read your list and I thought about this quote, “Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

    Excellent post!

  2. Oh my! You may also feel that it’s up to you to be so on top of things, that to do less would be the end of the world. Two words: letting go. Something I must do in virtually every area of my life. It can affect relationships and it can make someone literally sick. I will be starting my own list – that’s for the kickstart!

Your feedback is welcome!