I have a tattoo on my side that says “Ezra 10:4.” I got it several years ago because it had been my favorite verse for years. I’d like to share why I got that verse and what it has taught me since I got it.
I needed a “get shit done” verse. I am sure many of you have looked for a verse to embody what you are doing. At the time I was playing sports, working out, etc. and I was looking for motivation. But of course, I was looking for something different. A verse that was unique. So I stumbled across Ezra 10:4 “Rise up, this matter is in your hands, so take courage and do it.” For Falcons fans this is now your favorite verse too! Doesn’t this just inspire action? Rise up. In my hands. Courage. Do it. All aspects pointed to my goal of “getting shit done.”
Now, before I got it permanently inked onto my body I did want to understand the verse and the context in which it was used. Now would be a good time to go read Ezra 10: 1-17…
Right? Not necessarily the David and Goliath type story you were hoping for? Just some good old fashion old testament craziness. How could my favorite verse not mean more? Why were people not being saved and little guys not winning? It was feeling less like my verse after the first reading. Regardless, I took the verse out of context. I even told people when they asked me what it meant, “well I use it for different motivation than how it was originally intended.” For a while, this was my answer. I had no shame in my verse. It was an encouragement to me.
Since I got the tattoo, roughly five years ago, I have learned two things about it. One, it serves to hold me accountable. We hear that God is everywhere and always watching but it doesn’t always feel real. It became more real when I looked in the mirror and saw a verse. Imagine the shame of looking in the mirror after a “rough night out” and seeing the verse that I wanted to embody. The second thing it taught me was forgiveness, but I don’t want to get into that right now. Let’s stick with accountability.
We all need some form of accountability. There was a time when the tattoo was all I needed. It served as a physical reminder. Now, my goals are different. I had to change what accountability looked like. Now, my goal is to show up weekly and write something for others to read. It may only be one person that is reading this, but that’s enough. The thought that one person might read these words and gain something. Read these words and understand themselves better. That would be worth it for me. If you happen to be “that person”–you, are my accountability. I don’t want to let you down. It may sound unhealthy, but I think we all need some kind of accountability to consistently make us show up. If you can believe it, I stress sometimes about getting the right words on the page at the right time. I don’t know your life. I only know mine. I can only share what is going on in my world and hope that it resonates with you. Here’s the thing, it does stress me out. Not all the time, but sometimes. Having accountability keeps us from letting fear and doubt stop us. I could have never said a word about posting weekly. That would have alleviated some of the stress. It would also give me an out. I don’t want an out. When we get right down to it, most of us don’t want an out. In the moment, yeah, we are all itching for a way out. But at the end of the day, did you do it or not? Did you show up or not? Do you regret it or not? Accountability keeps us from regret. We let the fear of showing up keep us from doing the things we want to do. It may be eating right, working out, dating that person, taking that job, forgiving that person, or anything else.
For me, it was an audience. I’m a pretty private guy and have not been known to share well, at all! For those close to me, you know this is big. And I could not do it consistently if no one knew I was trying. I had to let others know. I had to share my goals with you. I have grown to enjoy quiet time and writing. As that has evolved I have felt a need to share my story. Things that I think about, lessons learned, daily struggles, spiritual growth, all the things. But I needed another layer of accountability. I needed you.
My goal for this post is to say it’s okay to be uniquely you and still let others in on the process. People are the best accountability. Whatever is on your heart to do, find someone to share it with. Then wake up every day and work at it. Trust that the people around you will hold you accountable. You may want to stop, or make excuses, but keep going. You won’t regret it. You will regret not trying.