True Accountability

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Elf on the Shelf.

 

I’m sorry, but when, exactly, did this become a thing?

 

Elf on the Shelf, in case you haven’t heard of this new parenting phenomenon, is a little figurine of an elf that parents place in the house in the months leading up to Christmas. The story is that Santa “sends” the elf to report back on whether the kids should go on the “Good List” or the “Naughty List.”

 

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Frankly, I think it’s just an excuse for parents to milk the whole “he-knows-if-you’ve-been-bad-or-good” thing for all it’s worth.

 

(Can you hear the eye roll from here?)

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Anywho. Clearly, this was not around when I was growing up.

 

And to be quite frank…which, as you know, I always am…I think the whole thing…well…it stinks like rotten fish.

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OK, hold the phone…This is a harmless, fun little tradition that makes my kids squeal with excitement. Why are you such a bah-hum-bug Grinch??

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One word:

 

Accountability.

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The Elf on the Shelf encourages good behavior in order for the child to be rewarded. Be good so you don’t get coal from Santa. Be good because Santa’s watching. Be good so you get lots of presents.

 

Kids are now having to be accountable to Santa.

 

This really gives the whole notion of accountability a bad wrap. Like, Santa’s become some sort of parole officer who’s there to keep tabs on you, or check up on you to make sure you’re not doing anything destructive. Be accountable to avoid negative consequences.

 

And this is where the problem lies in my eyes: accountability is not something that is restrictive or negative. In fact, in true accountability, there is overwhelming freedom. Overwhelming love.

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You see, accountability has been a major player in my life ever since adopting recovery from anorexia. And my relationship with it has gone through many stages.

 

I went to inpatient for a reason. I needed around-the-clock accountability. For my intake, for my exercise, for my ED behaviors. So I went to an inpatient treatment facility for 3 MONTHS. I missed my high school graduation. Missed summer vacation. I was in a hospital where I was held accountable every second of every day. And there was no fudging the accountability either. Doctors, nurses, dieticians, therapists, table monitors to sit with us while we ate, people who watched over us while we slept, people who flushed the toilet for us. INTENSE ACCOUNTABILITY.

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And it wasn’t until I truly invited Jesus into my heart that I adopted recovery once and for all.

 

One of the things my parents and I talked about during my trip home over Thanksgiving, was how they were so thankful that they don’t have to worry anymore. How they’re grateful that I’m taking care of myself in every sense of the word: physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially.

 

And we got to talking about why that is.

 

And the answer is that my relationship with accountability has changed. It has turned from something negative, Elf-on-the-Shelf-y, to something positive. Something full of freedom.

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Here’s the thing: I live alone. I’m in a cute little studio apartment. And the reality is, if I wanted to cozy up to ED again, I could. The reality is, I live in NYC: the busiest city, and also the most anonymous city in the world. And I live by myself. That could be a recipe for disaster.

 

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One word: accountability.

 

I’m accountable to myself. But more accurately, I’m accountable to myself, and my accountability partner, Jesus.

 

I don’t go to a therapist. I don’t go to a dietician. No ED support groups or meetings. None of my family or relatives live on the East Coast. All of my physicians are even back in my hometown.

 

And for anyone struggling with an addiction or destructive behavior — hell, anyone who has ever tried going on a diet! — You know: being accountable to yourself is damn near impossible.

 

So how, then, have I been able to stay in recovery? How is it that I don’t skip meals or snacks or spend 6 hours a day exercising, or isolate from the people, or just deteriorate, in every sense of the word? I have every opportunity to, if I wanted.

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Jesus is my accountability partner. But unlike the Elf on the Shelf, — who is waiting for me to mess up, whose reward is dependent upon me not screwing up — Jesus already gave me my reward: on the Cross.

 

Jesus didn’t get to Calvary and say, Wellll, I’m actually not going to go through with this because Susie did X on December 3, 2015. Too bad, this whole redemption thing coulda been greaaat.

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No. That’s the Elf on the Shelf’s approach.

 

Jesus gave it all no matter what we do or don’t do. He gave His life because He loves us that much. Because we are worth that much.

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That is what I’m accountable to.

 

That is the character of the Who I’m accountable to.

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My accountability is not a “I better do this because Jesus is watching.” It’s a “I desire to take care of myself because I have been loved at a price. I have a value that is worth dying for.

 

And it is resting in that mindset that allows for unimaginable freedom. Freedom to choose to love myself, because I am so greatly loved.

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I’m getting a little preachy now, so I’ll leave you with this.

 

That desire for self-accountability didn’t happen overnight. It came through transformation. Transformation that came from Him.

 

We’ve all heard “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God.” But think about this: In that verse, (Ps 51:10) the Hebrew word for “create”bara – is only used a couple of times in the bible. It is also used when God creates the world, and God creates man – meaning that He created something out of nothing. Those are things that only God could do. Man could not create himself. The world could not create itself. Therefore, we cannot create a clean heart for ourselves. God has to do it.

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The Elf on the Shelf, sure it’s a fun tradition, filling children’s imaginations with whimsy and wonder. But let us not mix up that “Good List”/”Naughty List” accountability with the freedom that is experienced in accountability with, to, and for Christ.

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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

202 thoughts on “True Accountability

    1. Elf on the Shelf? It’s definitely a cute idea! It just makes me think about my accountability in recovery. No beef against EOTS or anyone who uses it! It just was my example for accountability 🙂 hehe i’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. hope you’re having a great day!

  1. This is so powerful. Many times I have felt I need to “eat to perform” in front of my family. I needed to be accountable to them. Now, I choose to eat for myself. I choose to take care of this woman who was paid for by the cross. I choose to enjoy my life and be loved. Thanks for this post <3

    1. Hi Ellie! So proud of you love. That’s such a powerful thing- to claim recovery for yourself. That’s where freedom rests! Thanks for sharing this Ellie:) I’m so glad you stopped by! Hugs to you pretty lady! Xoxoxoxo

  2. What a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross! Thank you for sharing your story. Even though I don’t live by myself like you (I live with my husband, 4 kids and a Boston terrier) I completely relate to what you’re saying here about the accountability factor (and the ED).
    Keep telling your story girl!

    1. Thank you so much Lori:) wow sounds like you’ve got a full house! God is good. I am grateful to Him everyday for my recovery. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! Hugs to you!

  3. Hello…I stopped by to acquaint myself with the person who “liked” my post. In spite of your “Read this first” recommendation, I found myself, out of curiosity, reading True Accountability, which, for me, was an eye opening reminder. It reminded me that accountability was a key component to my recovery from drug addiction. I’ve been sober now for nine years. During the same time period, my ED has taken over center stage. I came here to say thank you for liking my post, and now, I will also say thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I will read more of your story as time allows. But, for now…I’ll just say, thank you….hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

    1. Hi James, thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. I’m glad this post struck a chord with you. Recovery is definitely a journey. One that we take one day at a time. Blessings to you on your journey 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by!

  4. Love, love, love….thank you for speaking truth…you inspire me. Thank Jesus for Jesus and for helping us thru our struggles. Keep up the great work..xoxo

  5. I don’t have kids so never understood Elf on the shelf. But your perspective makes a lot of sense. And don’t worry about being “preachy”. Sometimes I think we need a bit of it every now and then. Great post!

  6. Santa as a parole officer- lol! I’m glad you put this concept out there. I haven’t thought of honoring myself because I was bought at a price, because I’m valuable. Thanks

  7. Your blog and your comment thread have so much good in them. Is that a little preachy? Perhaps, but definitely a story (yours and Jesus’) that needs to be told.

    1. Hi Oneta! Gosh thank you so much. Haha I never mean to get preachy but I guess I’m just so passionate about it, I can’t help it! 😬 hehe Yes, God is good – and I owe everything to Him. Thanks for stopping by and for reading and for leaving some sunshine in my comments:) hugs and love to you!!!

  8. Good read. I agree that the accountability is coming from the wrong motivation. Also, I think it would be great if parents quit the whole ridiculous lie about Santa. I mean, really, why lie to our children and then expect them to grow into honest, resentless adults. It’s completely counterintuitive.

    1. Hi Patrick! You bring up some great points. I have heard a lot of families are going “Santa-neutral” with their kids. I don’t really have an opinion on that-the EotS just brought up a lot of feelings about accountability since that has been such a big part of my life post ED. thank you so much for stopping by and offering this great perspective! Have an awesome night!

  9. Great article! I’m totally on your side. I’ve only been seeing them the last year or two, and don’t really understand it. Christmas is about celebrating Jesus and our lives are for doing our best for him, not to get a reward/present. Plus they look a little creepy to me. lol. =)
    I’ve just started doing a Christmas Blogging Challenge on my blog (https://excerptsfrommycranium.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/12-days-of-christmas-blogging-challenge/). You should check it out and give it a try. =)

    1. Thank you so much Shelly! I appreciate you taking the time to read! You’re right, that is the true meaning of Christmas. It’s easy to forget that with the hustle and bustle of the season. Thanks for stopping by! I’ll definitely check it out!

  10. I love thid! There is so much truth to what you say about accountability. Also, I’m praising Jesus for you, dear friend.

    Lastly, I think Elf on the Shelf is creepy. Just sayin’…

    1. Thank you so much Shannon! Wow, I am humbled by your words. Thank you 🙂 God is responsible for my healing, that’s for sure. I’m grateful to Him every day. And I agree with you on the elf 🙂 hehe thanks for stopping by and for such kind feedback. blessings and hugs to you friend!

  11. I came upon your blog when you liked one of my posts and I absolutely love your blog! Your honesty about this tough journey is so admirable and inspiring! Keep it up!!

  12. I love the line, “hell, anyone who has ever tried going on a diet! — You know: being accountable to yourself is damn near impossible.” So, so true. I can definitely relate with that one.

    I’m not a fan of Elf on the Shelf, either. For me it’s the difference between religion and being saved through grace. Elf/Santa says, “I love you if . . . ” and Jesus says, “I love you no matter how messed up you are.” When you begin to understand the magnitude of grace, it frees you to finally change your ways. You think, “Holy cow, I don’t deserve that.” And then you love Jesus on such a grand scale, your behavior changes because you want to love him back. Your actions reflect your love of God rather than your desire to follow a list of rules.

    Anyway. . . . great post. I loved it.

    1. Thank you so much Lonna. What a beautiful reflection. I love how you verbalized “I love you if” verses “no matter how messed up you are.” So true. And how comforting is that? It gives me so much peace and hope. God is good and I am so grate to Him for everything. Thanks for stopping by and for offering this wonderful perspective. Hugs!

  13. wow what a great read— i agree with you 100%!! i do not like the elf on the shelf idea.. and am worried when my daughter is old enough and wonders why she doesn’t have one visiting her (ive got 4 yrs to figure that one out lol)

    your words on accountability and Jesus are dead on and beautiful.

    this blog was so great!

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your encouragement and support! Best of luck with your “Santa decision!” My sibling is facing that same decision with their child on how to approach the whole Santa thing. It’s a toughie! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and blessings to you and yours xx

  14. I do totally agree with everything you say about our relationship with Jesus and with God. I don’t see the harm with the elf on the shelf, though. Santa has always by tradition given presents to good children so it is in keeping with that.

    But that is why Jesus is so much better than Santa. He loves us and love is unconditional.

    1. Hi Harry! You’re so right – Jesus’ love is unconditional and how comforting is that! I agree about Santa. I personally don’t think it is a harmful tradition. It’s fun and whimsical. I grew up believing in Santa and one day if I am blessed with children, Santa will come to our house too. The important thing is to remember the reason for the season:) thanks for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! ☺️ have a wonderful Friday!

  15. I agree, when you start becoming accountable to yourself you feel so much more powerful and in charge! Also, I had no idea what Elf on a Shelf was until I saw it on IG…lol. Are you from Cali?

    1. Hi Floey! Thank you so much! Accountability has been a huge factor in my recovery. Haha God bless Instagram, amiright? Hehe no I’m not from Cali…I live in NYC! other coast 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  16. Perhaps it’s better to teach our Children that Santa, like Jesus and their parents, love them unconditionally. At the end of the day the kids get the presents even if they have been naughty, so all it teaches them is that it doesn’t matter x

  17. For awhile I been taught that ‘because of the angels’ (one of the most obscure sections of a verse out there – in the first half of 1st Corinthians 11) mean that angels in heaven were watching what we do and reporting us to Heaven for doing anything not quite right which God would write down in the book, but I totally prefer the way you put it with Jesus as an accountability partner out of love. I think accountability gets such a bad reputation because generally it’s an easy thing to abuse, fortunately Jesus is stronger than that. Thank you for giving me hope that there can be true accountability that is good in every sense of the word.

    1. Thank you so much. You’re spot on. Jesus is stronger than that. And He is loving and merciful. Living from a place of love allows us to blossom and gives freedom. That’s a thought that brings me a lot of peace. And as far as Angels, I do think they’re watching over us, but not in a tattle-tale kind of way. I’m not a theologian, but that’s just what I think ☺️ thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you taking the time to read!

      1. Thanks! I think I’d gotten so used to hearing the messages in the wrong way that I’d lost sight of the idea that there’s a right way to understand them. The people who told me that about angels are legalistic and they miss out on the freedom that love as the basis for interpretation provides. Jesus said something about having life to the fullest measure, but they’ll never know that because they spend their days avoiding living so that they don’t give the angels something to write about. They miss out on so much good things for fear of the trouble they’d get into. That is how they get accountability wrong.

      2. Yes, there is so much freedom in Christ. If we just live in love: loving our neighbor as we love ourselves-we have nothing to worry about. You’re so right: he wants us to live an abundantly full life. After all, he paid the greatest price for our life on the cross, so living it to the full is a way to express gratitude! Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your heart:) hugs!

  18. We never did Santa with my son. He is 6 and has never believed. We did however get an Elf this year just the for the fun of it. So we are excited about looking for him every morning. But my son knows we are the ones doing it – he still enjoys it though and likes giving me tips on where to put him. 🙂

    1. Hi Paige! What a fun tradition to start 🙂 especially when your son is “in” on it. Santa has become a “house to house” decision and I support both ways:) my sibling is facing that decision this year with their child. Thanks for the great insight. Sounds like you’re getting the best of both! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. I’m sorry if I’m taking this the wrong way, but were you inferring that if there is suffering, there is no God?
      Because if you are, you are very wrong.
      Firstly, God is perfect, and living with him (Adam and Eve) we were perfect. There was no suffering, there was no death. God gave us free will, because without free will, there is no such thing as love. (And incase you haven’t quite clued it yet, there is no such thing as love if we weren’t created by a God). So with this free will, humans chose to separate from God. He created life and yet we didn’t listen to him about how life is best lived. So God listen to us and accepted that we wanted separation from him. He took a step back. But the absence of perfection, is sorrow. The absence of light is darkness. We might not have chosen the consequences, but we chose the actions. No one usually chooses their own consequences.
      So without perfection there, death came. Humans separated themselves from immortal life, so we all have to die. Part of this fallen world is diseases. I too have had an eating disorder (I do not know what type beautybeyondbones had, but I’m speaking for myself here), and no, that was not a blessing. A perfect God doesn’t CREATE sickness. It is a consequence for sinful actions that have separated us from God’s goodness.
      Now you might be asking, ‘So everyone who has something wrong with them is being punished? What about babies with cancer, etc.?’ No, consequences are not just limited to the sinner. If you rob a store, the consequences of your actions affect numerous people. You will go to jail and your family will suffer, the store clerk you threatened may have emotional trauma. Their family might suffer if they have to take time off work, etc.
      Lastly, taking this sort of approach by being horrible about someone’s disease is not a very nice thing to do. If you were simply asking a genuine question, I hope you have thoroughly listened to the answer and that you continue to ask so you can discover the truth.

      1. No worries. And I enjoyed your response. Unfortunately, I believe you did take it the wrong way. But not a problem.
        “Misunderstanding is a natural result of communication”.
        I am developing the idea of “blessing” for a future blog. I was curious as to our mutual blogger friends answer. And I really appreciate your input.
        Here is my position: man is in rebellion to the God of the Bible, yet an infinitely sovereign and loving God will do whatever it takes to lead us rebels to Him. Including using anorexia. The proposition: if our blogger friend had never battled ED, would she have come to the Savior. Hence, I would consider her anorexia as a blessing.
        What say you? Grace and peace.

      2. I love the name of your blog.
        I am new at this so I am not sure if my reply made it to you. It was kinda lengthy. The short version is anything that brings us to Christ is a blessing. Even anorexia. Hope to hear back from you.

      3. Thanks Jay:) I appreciate this dialogue! To answer your question about whether or not I would have come to know Jesus had I never battled ED: I grew up knowing Jesus since I was a child. I went to Sunday school from about the age of 3 and went to church with my family every Sunday. I remember I “officially” asked Jesus into my heart when I was 8 at a Christian sleep away summer camp. However, when I developed anorexia in high school, I became very distant from God, as my focus became solely on ED. I never renounced God, but my actions spoke otherwise: all I cared about was ED. All the while I was still going to church, but I would say that I was going “in body only.” My spirit was being suffocated by ED and was not there. So the anorexia really made my completely, 100% surrender and hand everything over to Jesus: my life, my “ideal” body, my future, my healing, control over food, my relationships -literally everything. I had to trust Him. It made me realize that I cannot live without Him as the center of my life. So that’s my reflection on the disease. I don’t think it was a “blessing” per se, but it was definitely the pathway that led to my full reliance on Jesus. I don’t think God viciously sends us pain and struggles, but I was allowed to make the decisions that led to the disease because of my free will. Hope that makes sense. Sometimes I feel like I’m just rambling 🙂 hehe hugs to you xx

      4. Makes perfect sense!!!!
        Hard to discern what is a blessing. Wife is a cancer survivor. Not exactly something I would desire for anyone to have. There was some real spiritual growth that came out of it though.
        Keep up the good work. I love your writings. Oh, have been thinking a great deal about this issue of “blessing” and will post to my blog with in the next few days. Grace and Peace. 🙂

      5. Hi Jay, Praise God that your wife beat cancer! I think the big take away, at least for me, is that no matter what happens — no matter what trial or struggle or detour or pain that we endure, God will use it for good. He wants only what is good for us and loves us so much, that there will always be good that comes out of any situation. Thank you so much for sharing your heart this morning. You’ve given me much to think about. I’ll definitely check out your post! Can’t wait to read it! Blessings to you and yours 🙂

      6. Absolutely……God uses “all things” for good to those that love Him and are called according to His divine purpose and plan. 24/7/365/eternity God is Good!!

      7. That’s OK. I just get a lot of “where’s your God now?!” I totally agree with you. I have always been raised to believe in God and was taught about him from an early age. I then took up the challenge of learning more about him by myself and have furthered my relationship with him. I have suffered many things, and I think we can choose to let it take us from him (i.e. blame him) or to come closer to him. I don’t want to die, but I know I’d go to somewhere perfect. I saw my mum get very sick, and have been very sick myself, so I know to take every chance I can to savour life. I would love to read your blog and will follow you. =)

      8. Hi Shelly, first, thank you for this dialogue on here. You have so much wisdom and have articulated your heart beautifully. Your dialogue on Adam and Eve was right on. Free Will is a powerful thing. God isn’t a dictator that forces us to love him. he wants us to choose to. And you’re right, our actions do have consequences. I’m sorry about your mum. There is so much truth in what you said: we need to savor life and the time we have with the people we love. Sending love and hugs to you:)

    2. Hi Jay, what a great question. No, I do not believe it was a blessing, but I do think that it was a trail in my life that has allowed for tremendous growth and an opportunity to cling to God. You may find reading my previous post, What I’ve Learned In Recovery helpful because I talk about just that. But here the highlight from it: “I’m grateful for the lessons I had to learn the hard way.
      Not that I’m grateful for the anorexia I endured, but I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the growth obtained from it.” http://beautybeyondbones.com/2015/11/25/what-ive-learned-in-recovery/ I hope that answers your question. I appreciate you reading! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. Hi Tim, oh thank you so much. I’m glad you find encouragement here. That is my true prayer. Sending love and blessings to you on your journey. ☺️ we got this!! Thanks for stopping by!

  19. I so attest that only Jesus transforms. From my earliest recollections, age 4, I did things and participated in things that I enjoyed but my parents, I knew were against. In fact it was the only thing I received a bare bottomed spank for when my dad caught me. I was raised to know and love Jesus but I had no sense of cumpunction and I just became good at looking good and knew how I could engage in this behaving without getting caught. But one day I encountered Jesus for real. I went to church camp with my best friend and partner in crime and I heard a message about the Great White Throne Judgement. I heard that at the end of time everyone, I mean EVERY ONE would apppear before Jesus and the books would be opened and all of our words and actions would be reviewed for everyone to see. We would be judged by what we did with Jesus. Of course He is our righteousnesses but if we don’t respond with right behavior then it is essentially disregarding the price He paid to make us right with God. That was my come to Jesus moment. I chose from that moment on to be accountable to Jesus and my heart and mind was flipped. I walked away from 6 years of pleasing my desires and never looked back. I truly felt free as never before. Free and clean and joyous. This was all a work of the Holy Spirit. Something I was incapable of generating on my own. Since then I have never looked back wishing to be that person again. I am a new creation. Grateful, humbled, always seeking more relationship with my Savior and more transformation.

    1. What a beautiful response Jan! You’re so right, there is SUCH freedom in Christ! And the price He paid for us is something that brings me to my knees. We are so deeply loved. I’m so glad you had that “come to Jesus” moment. I went to church camp as a child, too and owe my formation to that! If I’m blessed with children one day, I will definitely be sending them there! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs!

  20. What an incredibly honest and real post…so encouraging! Thank you for sharing. Yes, I so agree with you, accountability to Him stems from a relationship with Him, and it all gives us hope for a better tomorrow! 🙂

  21. You are such a brilliant and gifted writer. I love the photos you add to your posts and your fresh honesty. I especially loved this post – preach it sista! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Pam. Your encouraging words are so appreciated ☺️ I’m glad you like the pictures! They’re fun to make but also a labor of love ❤️ thanks for stopping by! Hugs and blessings to you and yours! Xx

  22. Beautiful writing… I get why parents do eots but, I do kinda wonder how many times elfie sees naughtiness and still lets the presents arrive!! Love your passion for your faith-encouraging honesty-thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Little Green Tree! Good question!! ☺️☺️ thank you so much for your positive and encouraging words. It always takes a second for me to work up the courage to press “publish” so your kind affirmation means the world. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs! ❤️

  23. Was shocked when my aunt said that her friends were doing this with her children! Had never heard it before, And have to say I agree, it’s taking away the from forming your own moral code and just striving on a daily basis to be a good person and instead reinforcing the idea that you only have to do the honourable thing till you get what you want if that makes sense!

    1. Hi there! Thank you for this comment! Accountability is definitely a journey, but there is actually freedom to be found in it when the motivation isn’t to avoid consequences/get stuff 🙂 thanks for reading! Hugs to you!

  24. A wonderful post. It takes a ton of energy to run away from our responsibilities. You are so right that there is freedom in accepting our responsibilities and being accountable.

    Elf on the shelf? I like the hide-and-seek aspect, but I don’t like the “threat” (if that’s what parents are doing). I thought Christmas was supposed to be about love.

    1. Hey D. Thank you so much for your response! I agree – Elf on the Shelf is a fun tradition for sure. But you’re spot on” Christmas is about love. In every aspect of the word. Thanks for stopping by this morning! Have a great weekend!

  25. Praise God for this fantastic testimony! Thank YOU, dear sister in Christ, for writing it and making all the beautiful photos with captions – they are WONDERFUL!! Do you realize what an amazing conduit you are of God’s love for His precious people? Love flowing forth freely to heal and bind up the broken-hearted, to free the captives – you are living out Isaiah 61:1-4!
    You go, girl!! ❤️😃

    1. Hi Deanna. Wow, I am completely humbled by your words. Thank you:) it really means a lot. God is good and I owe my life to Him and that’s no figure of speech. Literally my life. This is just my way of saying thank you 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time this morning to read and offer such beautiful encouragement and support. God bless! Hugs!

  26. Amen! <3 True accountability can't be manufactured or drummed up. It comes from a true heart change, that can only be worked by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And I've truly seen that God, who is faithful ALWAYS to His promises, has cleansed me of my sin and my idols and kept me from going back there.

      1. Thank you, and you’re very welcome! Thanks for your work on your blog; I am enjoying reading about your personal journey.

      2. Thanks for that. It means a lot:) it’s been a scary thing, “putting it all out there” but it is my deepest hope that my broken journey will help even one person find hope. ❤️❤️

  27. Very nice post, you had me right up to the point you mention jesus!

    i see jesus as just an evolved human, nothing more…

    However the elf on the shelf, interest me a great deal!

    i also see that you dropped by to have a read, we also have conflicting interest, nothing that i’ve been through may times before, does mean that i won’t read your post’s just that we don’t agree on a particular subject of god!

    hugs chris

    1. Hi OM! haha thanks for that perspective! Definitely a fun tradition…I hope I didn’t come across as being “anti-elf”/anti-Santa! I grew up believing in Santa, and if I’m blessed with children one day, Santa will come to our house 🙂 I had been wanting to do a post on accountability for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, given the season and the nature of the beast..er..elf 🙂 hah thanks for stopping by! I always look forward to your posts!

  28. Another great post as always 🙂 and you are right, True Accountability should not always mean something negative. The way you just described it was perfect 🙂 I am also glad that you survived all those hospital visits back when you were going through recovery 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    1. Thank you so much John! I so appreciate your readership and insight:) yeah, me too. My time at inpatient was definitely Intense but I’m so grateful that a) my parents could afford residential treatment and b) that I “came out the other side” and got my life back. Inpatient may have healed me from a physical standpoint, but Jesus did the true internal healing. Thanks again for stopping by. Have a great week!

  29. You know what I like about your post… It’s not Christmas or Santa that our kids should be stand up for… Life is …well… Life and being accountable should be a forever growing trait. Our children should be taught right from wrong always and not just during the Christmas season. I do not follow this new tradition, and avoid watching the show. Our oldest made a cool Santa ornament several years ago on a beach chair. In order to honor her work we bought a little home ornament and every December Santa vacations under our Christmas tree. It’s not meant to teach them anything. Merely to show how important even their homemade things matter.

    1. Hello again☺️☺️☺️ first of all, thank you so much for taking the time to read. I know I sound like a broken record, but it really means a lot and I’m so grateful for that. I so so agree. Accountability is forever growing. And morphing. It changes with our life stage, and our relationships. And it is always important. And that’s a wonderful message to teach children. It sounds like you’re a great parent:) have a lovely evening! Hugs!!

  30. “accountability is not something that is restrictive or negative. In fact, in true accountability, there is overwhelming freedom. Overwhelming love.” so so so true!!!!

    “My accountability is not a “I better do this because Jesus is watching.” It’s a “I desire to take care of myself because I have been loved at a price. I have a value that is worth dying for.”-WOW!!!!

  31. I really enjoy your blog! And I kept thinking about this Bible verse while reading: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

    1. Hi Jayne! Thank you so much 🙂 I absolutely love that verse! We’re on the same wavelength because I’m writing my next post about just that!! 😀 thanks for stopping by! have a wonderful Monday! hugs!

  32. This is a great post. I like your take on the accountability aspect of it. I think that it is something a lot of kids and adults are missing in there life. Accountability in some cases (like my struggle with porn for example) can make the rest of the world and people I your life look at you and think your a disgusting pervert, which is not the case. It is a addiction like any other. I will call it for what it is. No addiction is pretty. Thank you for this post I really enjoyed it.

    1. Hi scruffy, thank you much for your honest response. You’re right, no addiction is pretty. And whether it is to an eating disorder, designer shoes, gossip, porn, alcohol — you name it — it keeps us in bondage. But taking accountability is a huge huge accomplishment. It is the beginning of freedom. And lastly, I think it’s important to remember that we are not out addictions. I was not my eating disorder, and you and were not your addiction either:) Thank you so much for your reflection and for taking the time to read. Blessings to you, friend 🙂

  33. Love this!!!! I came thiiiiis close to picking up an elf a few years ago. So glad I came to my senses and put the box and book down and slowly walked away. Phew!

    I love how you explained how your relationship with Jesus influences your entire existence. Lots of truth right there. Blessings to you!

  34. What a wonderful post. I also do not like Elf on the Shelf for the same reason. You are such a strong woman of faith. Thank you for sharing how you depend on Jesus and how you have let his love transform you.
    I have struggled with food most of my adult life (especially after I started having kids and putting on weight). I have reached a point in my life when I need to really make a change and follow through – my health depends on it. I know it will be a huge challenge but as you have stated, I need to let Christ transform me and let God create something new.
    God bless you.
    ~Mar
    P.S. Thank you for liking my post. This is how I found you.

  35. My mom was just telling me about this a few weeks ago. She works at a daycare can her boss does this for her son. I totally agree that this seemingly harmless game can cause the wrong mindset. Great read!

  36. I took the time to read your post on true accountability. I just say every time that I read one of your post you surprise me. You are so deep in thought on every sense of the level. I can tell through your words state you of a relationship with God the Father God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Well Susie have to say to directly that yes you have a life worth dying for in Jesus all to it so that you could be redeemed. Why you may ask? because your love for him is more precious Beninese silver and gold the world could ever provide. I’m positive that every day with you fully relying on Christ you somehow managed to make the Lord smile. I know this because at times after reading your post I smile. so you maybe Suzi X, Jenny from New Hampshire or Bobbie sue from the South Dakota but it doesn’t matter what matters is that you know in your heart of hearts that God loves you.

  37. You’re right. Parents often leave parenting to the TV, Santa…whatever becomes handy. On the one hand, I know Santa is a very strong tradition and a fun, well, game of sorts. I’m conflicted about it too. Fond memories, but a more mature realization that anything that distracts from what’s being celebrated can’t be too good. So the accountability goes in two directions; mis-training the child and abdicating parental responsibilities.

    1. Hey Jeffrey! Yeah you’re absolutely right. It’s up to the family to instill strong values and cultivate the faith in a child. Because it is hard to find out there anymore! Thanks as always for stopping by xox

  38. Self-accountability = self-love

    “That desire for self-accountability didn’t happen overnight. It came through transformation. Transformation that came from Him.”

    So true, I went to a year long treatment facility for numerous things, eating disorder, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, suicidal tendencies, and ultimately insecurity in who I was as a person. I desperately needed Jesus and I came to know Him while I was there and He wrecked my life and I have never been the same since.

    Thank you so much for always being so open and vulnerable on here, people need to hear it, they need to know that they are valued and they are loved because they were created by and for a Holy King to left everything to reconcile us!

    1. Yes! Thanks for sharing your story. God is amazing and his healing life changing! Hugs and love xox

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