A Different Kind of Accountability

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

The Key to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year
Grace McCready

When the leader of our college and career group at church encouraged everyone in the group to set two spiritual goals, I didn’t realize what an impact his challenge would have on my life.
So, I chose two spiritual goals for myself—to pray for five minutes a day and to read my Bible for five minutes a day—and wrote them down on a little card to keep. Then I copied the goals onto a separate little card to give to our group leader and his wife. Funnily enough, they weren’t New Year’s resolutions; we actually set these goals in March.
But fast forward several months, and I still have that card with my goals on it (and I assume that my college and career group leader and his wife still have my card, too). And I still aim to keep the goals that I wrote down on that card back in March. I’m not saying that I’ve never skipped a day of praying and reading my Bible—I’ve definitely missed some days. But I’ve been truly surprised at how effective this activity has been.
“Accountability” is currently a Christian buzzword that seems to be popping up in the Church quite often. I can definitely see the merits of having accountability, getting an accountability partner, joining accountability groups, etc. But I also think that accountability can feel really intimidating, especially to people who are generally shy or reserved. To some Christians, the definition of accountability means opening up to someone whose approval you’re afraid to lose and sharing your failings with them on a regular basis. No wonder there’s a lot of hesitancy to open up to other people.
When my college and career group leader asked everyone in our group to write down two spiritual goals and share those goals with him, he was taking a different approach to accountability. He and his wife didn’t text me every night to see if I had read my Bible and prayed during the day. They didn’t have weekly check-ins with me to ask if I had kept my goals during the past week. But they knew about my goals, and I believe that their knowing has helped me meet those goals over the past several months.
To be honest, I don’t have a specific passage of the Scripture that backs up my suggestion because it’s simply that—a suggestion. But there are many passages of Scripture that address our relationships within the Church, including this one:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 NASB1995)
As followers of Christ, we have a deep connection to each other, even though we’re all different and have different goals for growing in our faith. I would argue that although having accountability is a great way to achieve those goals, there is also great value in simply telling someone what your goals are, whether you verbalize it or write it down. Developing a formal relationship with someone to regularly discuss your deepest, darkest secrets can be helpful (and potentially necessary) but start small by simply involving someone in your goal setting for the new year. When 2024 comes, you might be pleasantly surprised by how effective it was.

Application Points:

  1. Figure out what your goals are for the new year. I’d recommend keeping a short list of resolutions, as opposed to an overwhelmingly long list of resolutions, but ultimately, pay attention to the convictions of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Share your goals with a fellow sister in Christ whom you trust and respect. Whether you verbalize your goals in person or send them in a text or email, embrace the process of simply involving someone in your goal setting who will be there to pray for you and support you.
Meet your goals! Instead of giving up when you don’t see as much progress as you want, thank God for His patience and, in turn, be patient with yourself.

  Grace McCready enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like. She shares personal stories and Scripture to encourage young women on her blog, Tizzie's Tidbits of Truth.

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