It was a blustery rainy Saturday, quite typical for where I live. It was not typical because it was one of those rare Saturdays where I had no responsibilities. No obligations for church, my ministry, my publisher, my family – – nothing had to be done! No commitments, no deadlines, nothing. It was a day I could have slept in, but sleep was illusive, so instead I wandered downstairs way earlier than normal. By doing so, I invaded my husband’s quiet time for putting the final touches on his Sunday sermon.
I quietly made my way to my usual spot on the sofa, grabbed a blanket, pushed the button for the recliner to kick back, closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and then another. It felt good to know I could just sit and breath, but at the same time I felt the exhaustion in my body. I was being quiet, so when my husband turned to speak to me, I was startled. His mornings are sacred, they’re his quiet times. However, just minutes after I sat down, he closed his laptop and turned to speak to me. He informed me he was going to his shop to “work,” which was really code for: I am going to the shop to move things around, (I mean organize tools) watch Netflix, maybe work on something and recharge while doing it. He went on to tell me he had found a series on Netflix for me to watch and I inwardly groaned. I was seriously thinking Hallmark Channel and hot cocoa sounded more my speed for the day. I didn’t want to have to pay much attention to what was on the tv.
I watched as he scrolled through the menu and he selected, “Anne with an E.” He knew I loved Anne of Green Gables and so he thought I would enjoy this series. I protested and said that nothing could beat the original, so I would rather watch something else. He insisted, put it on and left for his shop. He purposefully set the TV remote out of my reach, so I would have to get up to change it. He knows me so well (LOL).
As I sat watching the show one of the characters said something that packed a punch.
“Obligation can be a prison.” ~ Marilla Cuthbert
What?! Wait … back up the TV, did she really just say that? Yep, she sure did, and it got me thinking, a lot actually, about the difference between obligation and responsibility. About how I often do something, not because I want to or because I need to, but because I feel obligated to do so. Yes, of course there is a fine line between obligation and responsibility, but all too often, I take something that isn’t a responsibility and yet I feel obligated to make it one. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever done this in your own life?
As I continued to watch the show that day, I realized, Marilla was right, obligation can be a prison! It can be a prison of my own making, a prison I freely open the door to and put myself in and often times throw away the key. The bars of the prison of obligation are made of a strong unyielding guilt.
I should make a distinction between responsibility and obligation. My responsibilities are things that I have agreed to be accountable for accomplishing or stewarding. In making that agreement I obligate myself. The prison of obligation comes into play when I allow someone else priorities or expectations to guilt me into taking on an obligation. My integrity drives me to keep that commitment but if I had been true to myself I might have declined the obligation.
Feeling obligated to do something is a vicious cycle which I need to break free from. I need to stop and make an assessment, before saying yes, is this a responsibility I agree to own or is this a guilt driven obligation. Is this something I feel like I have to do, because it’s expected of me, but not necessarily what I should be doing or want to do?
In order to bring my best self to the table each day, I have to say yes to the best and let go of the rest. In doing so my yes becomes yes and my no becomes no.
Last weeks Top Clicked Post:
Celebrating the Labor and the Love by Michele Morin.
Michele is a master wordsmith. It matters not if it’s a book review or a regular blog post, so it is no wondering that her post from last week was the one with the most clicks. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, please check it out. Michele asks the question: “It is, therefore, possible to draw parallels between the nature of worship and the importance that hands-on housekeeping plays in the ebb and flow of a well-balanced Christian life?” Click on over after you comment and linkup below and read more about The Spiritual Discipline of Housekeeping.
Here are a few posts that caught my attention from last week:
Roseann from This Autoimmune Life had these amazingly easy to make Candy Corn Cookie Bars
Leslie from Play dates to Parties had these adorable CLEMENTINE PUMPKINS | EASY AND ADORABLE KIDS SNACKS
If you have children, and haven’t been to Leslie’s blog, you need to hop on over and check it out. Last week she linked up easy family themed costume ideas and these cute, healthy clementine pumpkins.
Again Welcome and Thank you for joining me for #TuneInThursday it is an honor to have you here!
I have had a few people ask for a badge/button to display on your blogs. I would absolutely be honored if you would display it, or link back here in some way. Thank you!
Now let’s get this party started, feel free to link 1-3 posts:
Debbie Kitterman is a natural born encourager who is on fire for God. She is passionate about equipping individuals, so they can go deeper in the relationship with God, reach their God-potential and claim their Kingdom inheritance. Debbie is a wife, mother, author, pastor, speaker and the founder of “Dare 2 Hear,” a ministry that trains individuals to hear the voice of God. She travels to churches internationally and is the founder and teacher of d2htraining.com, an online course designed to equip the believer in releasing God’s heart. Her writing and teachings inspire faith and build bridges for people to believe and expect the impossible. She is also an ordained Foursquare pastor, currently serving with her husband, John, as senior pastor of Restoration Church in Lacey, Washington. Learn more at: www.debbiekitterman.com
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What fun to learn that my little piece that came from stuffing a ratty t-shirt into the washer two days in a row has had so many readers here in this friendly gathering!
Thanks, Debbie, for all you do to encourage writers and to build community among bloggers and readers!
You are most welcome Michele and I am so sorry I forgot to notify you last night – I was having issues with my post and totally spaced going to your post and letting you know. So glad you saw you were the top pick from last week. Blessings 🙂
How many twirly spins can I do while happy hallelujah dancing to the truth in this post? Deb, Lysa Terkeurst wrote that book “THE BEST YES.” And she talks about sometimes NO is our best yes for our self. Period. I am way older than you but I have learned how to graciously say NO to things that will obligate me. We absolutely have to. Another saying I love (from Joyce Meyer) is “involved but not entangled.” Chew on that one for a spell. xoxoxoxo
Hahaha Susan, I can just hear your laughter now as you twirl and dance around. 🙂 Ok, so can you believe I haven’t read “The Best Yes”? In fact, I probably could have used reading it a few years back so I could have learned the power of the No and Yes… In fact, I could still probably use to read it. LOL Oooohhh Joyce Meyers quote, yeah that one is one I will have to chew on for while. Thanks Susan!
Good morning, Debbie.
What a great post! Operating out of obligation can be such a challenge for me. Thank you for reminding me to seek God’s best.
Thanks Tammy 🙂 I am glad I could remind you too, but … Truthfully, I needed the reminder myself as well. I do good for a while and then I find myself walking back into the vicious cycle of obligation again and again. Thank you Jesus for grace and help in breaking free. Blessings to you too
Wise words! There is a fine line between responsibilities and obligations, but it is a line worth looking at. By the way, I’m a huge Anne fan too, and I’ve been enjoying Anne with an E as well!
Thank you, Katrina! You are right, I agree, the fine line does need to be looked at. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who enjoys Anne with an E. At first I had a hard time missing the original cast, but then I got into the characters and am loving it.
“In order to bring my best self to the table each day, I have to say yes to the best and let go of the rest”
Amen and Amen! This is also one of the hardest things for me to do. I mean, the struggle is real!
Thanks Jerralea! and yes, the struggle is real, it’s nice to know I am not the only one that struggles with this. 🙂 Blessings
I like Anne of Green Gables, and that is good advice. I am not obligated to do everything, so I will have to be responsible to what is best. I was wearing myself out.
Rebecca, I often find myself worn out too – not from responsibility, but from obligation and taking on too many things. I am happy to hear you like Anne of Green Gables – have you seen the Netflix Anne with an E series?
This definitely gets me thinking, Debbie! Too often, what I do from obligation is not done joyfully, it’s almost sinful. Well, I guess it is, for it doesn’t glorify God one bit, but serves only to appease my guilty conscience. Praying for wisdom and discernment to serve Him joyfully. Thanks for highlighting Marilla’s quote. My daughter and I loved the first season of Anne with an E. The second one – not so much.
Carlie – You make an excellent point and are so right – when we take on things we really don’t want to do, we don’t usually do them with happy hearts – if I’m real, sometimes its with a grumbling heart. I haven’t seen the second season, of Anne with an E – didn’t even know it was out already, I’ve been so busy, but that is good to know it wasn’t as good as the first season, -thank you 🙂
such wonderful featured blogs, Deb – thanks so much !
Thanks so much Sue. I’m glad you enjoyed them 🙂
Such a good reminder on how we use our time and our attitudes toward it. (Or is the attitude part just me?) laurensparks.net
Thanks Lauren, and no, it’s not just you, I have to adjust my attitude towards it as well 🙂
Great distinction between responsibility and obligation. I need to get rid of some of my obligations, too!
Thank you Laurie! I had to purge quite a few obligations myself, so at least we are in good company 🙂
I haven’t linked up in a while but glad to check back in! Thanks for featuring my candy corn! Love your post today! It reminds me of a lyric in a song by Jonny Diaz that caught my attention “lay down what’s good and find what’s best”. I have come to a point in my life with my health that I don’t have much choice but to find what’s best. I wish I had followed that advice earlier in my life because it brings about so much more peace!
Welcome back to linking up Roseann! You are most welcome for the feature. I haven’t heard that song, I am going to have to look it up thanks for mentioning it. 🙂 I too wish I had learned some things earlier in my life, but I say, “Hey, at least we learned them now and we can change them moving forward. – right? Blessings
Thank you so much for hosting again this week. You always do so much for bloggers! Have a relaxing week!
You are welcome Marilyn!
Oh these are such good thoughts. I have been one of those who has heaped responsibilities upon myself, and truly much of them were obligations that I was never meant to carry. I love the distinction that you made here. God is so good to keep teaching us, and helping us to find HIS light yoke! Blessings to you this week!
Thanks BettieG! You are so right, GOd is good at teaching us, sometimes continually if needed until we get it. Blessings
I love that statement, it’s sooooo true!
Thanks Jennifer – I liked it too.
Isn’t it so funny how those little truth bombs can hit you from such unexpected sources? Lol! I agree that obligation can be a prison. I think of obligation as something we do, but we don’t have a joyful spirit about it. We aren’t working from the heart of a servant. This could be even things that we are supposed to do – serving: our family, church, friends; parenting!; taking care of our home. The list is long! Haha! I’ve been convicted many times over the last 1.5 months about having a servant heart in the daily grind of parenting. Thank you for sharing with us at #LiveLifeWell.
Jessica, yes, it is funny how those truth bombs hit us out of nowhere! But I guess if we knew they were coming we might try and duck out of the way. LOL I do like your assessment about obligation being something we don’t have a servants heart about doing. Thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂 and for hosting #LiveLifeWell – it’s nice to have you back 🙂
I really like how you defined responsibility and obligation. Very clear distinction. Thanks for your comment on my blog today and for inviting me over!
Thank you Laura! And you are most welcome for the comment on your blog and thanks for coming to visit 🙂
I’m sure you know all too well how easy it is as a pastor’s wife to do way too many things out of obligation! I wish I had learned years ago how it’s ok to say no to some things!
Oh Elizabeth – YES – all too well actually. It is hard to redefine peoples expectations of what a pastors wife should or should not be doing LOL… but I have mostly learned to power of the no, sometimes though, I still get stuck in the obligation circle. Thanks for sharing a comment with me.
That is so true. I try to do things for people with obligation. Hopefully, they will do so for me.
Thanks for hosting and I hope that you had a wonderful weekend.
Thanks Patrick, I pray your weekend was wonderful and full of great adventures!
The message that obligations can become prisons really resonated with me. Too often we end up building our own prison without even realizing it and then are resentful and aren’t always sure why. I’ve shared the link to this post with my email list so they can read it too.
Shelley – you are so right and make a great point… we do often get resentful and we aren’t always sure why. Thank you also for sharing the link with your email list – wow – what a blessing and I am truly honored! 🙂
Debbie, this is such a good post with much needed reminders. We all need to think before we say yes and that is so hard to remember to do! I loved your quote, “Say yes to the best and no to the rest.” Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you Leslie, it is something I need to be reminded of often .:) Blessings
Debbie, what a quote! It’s so true. The older I get, the more I’ve learned to be careful with my yesses because it can become an obligation when imprisons me later from other good things. What a great reminder. Happy to be next to you at Lyli’s place. 🙂
Lisa, I am learning the same thing, I think the added years in my age brings with it wisdom and also the security to say no or yes. I a so glad we were neighbors at Lyli’s 🙂 I hope you will stop by again and linkup sometime too Blessings
Obligation can be a prison. Wise words and so true. You have given me a lot to think about. I also vote the quote Susan shared from Joyce Meyer in her comment.
I hope you spent time watching many episodes of Anne with an E. Such a good show.
It took me awhile. But health issues helped me to see that I needed to be sure I was doing what was necessary. Feeling obligated is not the same as actually being obligated. Amazing how FREEING that thought is!
I think of Jesus sitting at the table, his family comes to the door. Someone tells Him they are outside and they want to see Him. He simply says He is with His family (spiritual family). He still looked after His mother – but, in that moment, there was no obligation for Him to move. Then another time when his brothers wanted Him to go to Jerusalem with them. He said no and went to the same event in His own time.
We wear ourselves out doing things we think other people think we need to do. Instead, we would be better served if we focused on what God has given us to do. Keep it simple.
Thank you for sharing!
PS – I love Anne of Green Gables, the books are always best – but nothing can touch the first movies. Megan Follows WAS Anne. “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
Angela, I am so glad I am not the only one that believes nothing can touch the first movies. I LOVE Megan Follows as Anne, she was perfectly cast in that set of movies.
I like how you said it, there is a difference between feeling obligated and actually being obligated. It has taken me a while to figure that one out too, but once I did, it was sooooo freeing. Thank you so much for stopping in and taking the time to read and comment on this post. Blessings to you.