The phrase "No man is an island" is as famous as "There is no such thing as a free lunch." Recently this phrase has been on my mind as I've ruminated on this blog post and decided to research its origin. The words were coined by John Donne, English poet and Christian, in his book "Devotions" written in 1624. In short, without dissecting his rich words, the meaning behind it was human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.
I can't help but think about the Tom Hanks' movie, Castaway, when I think about this phrase. He was stranded on a desert island, and, to prove out this phrase, created a personified friend, Wilson, from a volleyball. Yes, no man is an island...even if he has to talk to a volleyball.
So what has my mind thinking on these things? A recent realization of the importance of accountability. My friend, Amy, and I discussed this a few weeks back and she's on the edge of her seat waiting for my thoughts on this to splurge to the screen. As a single gal who lives alone, I spent a great deal of time, well, alone. I have a full-time job and am blessed with some of the best friends on the planet (many that are literally all over the planet), but still navigate most waters solo. Being an independent soul, I can argue the point that with me and God, I need nothing else. Tis true, my friends, but God's design was not for us to be alone, but to have relationships, always coming back to that One True Relationship with Him.
All the way back to the Garden of Eden, God realized it wasn't good for man to be alone and He created woman. This is why our desires for that type of relationship run deep. God created His people for relationship. Not to walk this world alone. It was His Plan from before the dawn of time.
Whether single or married, we need that "iron sharpening iron" from those we trust and can hold us accountable. That dreaded phrase "hold us accountable" makes many of us squirm, thinking that we're giving someone control to rip us apart when we make a mistake or struggle with a sin. Though having accountability is not only necessary, but freeing. Lest you think I'm smokin' the weed, let me 'splain.
Left to my own direction, I can make choices that I can maybe justify are "from God" but when lined up with Scripture, really aren't. Without accountability with trusted friends, I could take action that may take me three steps forward, but eventually, six steps back. With accountability, I might still make those choices, but can quickly retreat, or refocus based on the wisdom of those that know me best, along with being head down in the Word. Being honest with someone and trusting them to do that for you is the first step...and it's a doozy! But having that in our lives is of utmost importance. I've seen too many people in my life who resist accountability and later pay for that for years to come....all could be avoided if they had just chosen accountability.
As Amy and I talked about this topic, we realized how blessed we are to have people we can talk through what God is teaching us, how we're messing up, how He's restoring us and how we love and support each other through it all. I was reminded of what I miss about my sweet friend, Jan. She always asked, almost every time we talked, "What is God teaching you?" I miss that. Amy and I have decided to do that for each other. People, it's glorious. It focuses me that I'm going to be asked what I'm learning from the Lord and His Word and I'm going to be challenged as to how I'm applying that to my life.
Accountability can be tough...for those on either side. But the results that come from it are worth all the tough and honest conversations that ensue from such a relationship. Those humans who live on the island...well, they have a volleyball, but that's about it.