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by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

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Well, I have not done a very good job of keeping my blog up-to-date with what I’m reading!! So, I wanted to be sure write a post about this book. As you already can see, I am a fan of Dr. Cloud’s books and this one does not disappoint. The title itself is so intriguing and I knew that I would have some things to learn. It is so easy to blame others, circumstances and even God for the things that go wrong in our lives. I had to take close look at myself and ask the tough question “Am I to blame/what is my part”?

Here are some things I learned:

  • Life isn’t black and white with clear winners and clear losers
  • Most people have areas of success and areas where they are stuck
  • We live in a culture of blame and little personal responsibility
  • When we feel there is nothing we can do, we stay “stuck”
  • The ability to take responsibility (even for things we didn’t create), allows for things to improve.

I love this quote from the introduction, “Taking responsibility in this way does not at all imply that your situation is your fault or that you caused it. It only means that since you find yourself in it, you are willing to put your arms around it and take ownership to make it better”. I don’t know about you, but this was so freeing for me. I had a misconception that responsibility/ownership meant that I had caused the situation and so for many years in many situations, I stayed stuck. However, ownership of where you are and what you can do next is powerful in initiating change in your circumstances.

Here’s the title quote from Chapter 1 “Excuses change nothing, but make everyone feel better. – MASON COOLEY. I really had to chew on this a minute and then I had to admit that it is true. Excuses really do nothing more than make us fell better in the moment. I don’t want to live my life this way …. feeling better with no tangible improvement. I no longer want to fail at taking responsibility for my own life.

Even in areas that I did not choose and cannot control, there are always ways to create, seek and find a range of options to determine your response and what you will do. The options may not be easy or what you want, but you always have options.

This truth struck me hard as well, the world is not just or fair. That is why God asks us to seek and practice the pursuit of justice for ourselves and for those unable to seek it for themselves. We must be the change makers in our own lives and for those who need our help. We must manage our lives in reality (as it really is) not as we think it “should”be.

There is so much to learn in this book that can help you take responsibility for the direction of your life. I would say this is a “must read” book for everyone. I’ll end this post with this parting thought from Drs. Cloud and Townsend: The degree of freedom you experience in the situations that surround you are directly related to the degree that you take responsibility and ownership for it, even if it’s not your fault.

If you are interested in ordering this book click here.

Happy reading everyone!

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