All too often we take on the problems of others as our own. And we rob them of their potential when we shortchange their responsibility. Sometimes love demands us to say – Not my problem.
My first job was at a local pizza joint and each team member had a clearly defined role. Our cook had seniority and was quick to reply Not my problem whenever one of us young guys expected him to do something outside of his job description.
At first, this seemed selfish and as if the cook was not being a good team player. However, upon reflection, that old cook was teaching us the value of differentiation.
Differentiation reminds us that some problems are ours to own while others are not.
Said another way, we are each responsible for our side of the street.
This is not to neglect our duty to care for the needs of others, but rather to keep things in proper balance.
When we take on someone else’s responsibility we rob them of the opportunity to exercise their strength and to grow in that particular area.
The cook refusing to do our job forced us to learn how to manage the many demands of working in a restaurant.
And while it did not feel good at the time, it was the most respectful and loving thing he could do for us.
He taught us to take full responsibility for our part on the team.
This same truth is needed in our relationships.
Resentment is the fruit of consistently doing more than our fair share in a relationship.
Love calls us to care for each other. But this is not the same as taking on the responsibility of others.
Love deeply. And don’t be afraid to also say Not my problem.