How to find True Accountability

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The other night, my friend and I took a break from our homework and went for a drive to catch up on life. This drive went from a quick chat to a 2 hour conversation about our insecurities, frustrations with God, struggles with sexual sin, and fears in relationships. But there was something so beautiful about this conversation. It wasn’t just a vent/cry session. It was a discussion.

She would share. I would respond. Give encouragement. Offer a perspective. Call out the lies.

Then I would share. She would respond. Give encouragement. Offer a perspective. Call out the lies.

And at the end of the night, we left in a prayerful mindset, heading to our own rooms to spend time with the Lord and process through the conversation.

It was in this time of processing that I realized the difference between this and any other vulnerable conversation I’d had recently. It was true, pure, authentic accountability.

It’s easy to think of accountability as mentioning a struggle to someone, and then they reach out to you every now and then to see how you’re doing. Honestly, I’ve fallen into that mindset for years.

But the other night completely challenged how I’ve thought through accountability. It’s more than just checking in every once in a while, or admitting a struggle to someone after a small group. True and ultimate accountability can occur only when the people involved are willing to be completely honest and humble.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

You’ve probably heard this verse. The Christian community loves to talk about sharpening one another, building each other up, and challenging one another to be better. But rarely do we acknowledge how uncomfortable the process of sharpening is.

If you’ve ever sharpened a knife, you’ll know that it takes some effort. It takes precision, because you don’t want to mess up the blade, or cut yourself. It must be done routinely in order to maintain the knife’s utility. Sometimes it makes an incredibly unpleasant sound. Iron on iron, metal on metal – it can be like nails on a chalk board. But in the end, the knife is sharper, the sharpener has done its job, and the knife can go on to accomplish what it is intended to do.

That’s a visual of how accountability is supposed to be. It isn’t pleasant. It is sometimes met with resistance or frustration. It requires effort. It has to be a regular thing, or else it isn’t effective. Both people must use wisdom to determine how they offer perspective and challenge. And both people must be willing to sharpen and be sharpened.

Accountability can only work as much as you do. If you have no desire to change, reflect, or listen, the sharpening will fall flat and your knife will remain dull. If the person you are trying to hold accountable isn’t willing to change, reflect, or listen, you aren’t going to be able to sharpen them to the best of your ability.

Faith-filled accountability requires a desire for the Holy Spirit to move. This is what set my friend and my conversation apart from the others I’d had – we were honest with ourselves and the other, spoke boldly into one another’s lives, but most importantly, left the conversation in a Jesus-focused mindset.

That conversation wasn’t comfortable. There were moments of great pain, sorrow, overcoming shame, and many tears. But by the end, I felt as if the things which had been dulling my spirit had been removed. I felt sharpened.

As women of God, this is what we are to seek in our relationships. I would challenge you to keep your close circle filled with other women who will sharpen you. This can be one friend, your small group, your mom, your roommates. Those who sharpen you (and are willing to be sharpened themselves) are those who will bring peace, joy, and discernment into your life.

If you don’t have anyone in your life like this, plug in somewhere. Find a women’s bible study nearby. Start going to a small group or Sunday school. Start taking girls in your life to coffee to get to know their stories. God has placed the people around you in your life for a reason – it may be time to explore what that reason is.

There’s one more important note that I want to share with y’all, and it’s one I am grappling with: if we aren’t pursuing God whole-heartedly, then we will not be able to sharpen/be sharpened in the most beneficial way. We cannot offer wisdom if we are not seeking His daily. We cannot receive guidance if we are ignoring His. And we cannot expect the Holy Spirit to move if we aren’t willing to move along with Him. Faith-filled accountability is active.

So friends, let’s sharpen one another. Let’s anticipate the Spirit to move in our lives and in our relationships. And let’s move along with Him.

Anna Leigh Mayfield // @adelightedmind


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Hey, y’all! I’m Anna Leigh. I’m originally from north Georgia, but I’m now living in Cleveland, Tennessee. Besides Jesus, my loves include cats, Taylor Swift, and a good cup of tea. I spend much of my time outdoors or in coffee shops. Writing is a way I express best what is going on in my soul, and how I communicate what the Lord is doing in my life. One of my most favorite things is to walk alongside of other women and experience God’s grace together. The way I usually live out my faith is through relationships with other people – I’ve seen Jesus work so powerfully in community!