I’ve just spent months watching my special needs daughter struggle to eat with a loose tooth, not to mention hearing her numerous complaints about how much it hurt. (Thankfully, the wiggly thing is finally out!) The experience brought back memories of trying to eat while wondering if a tooth was going to survive the meal or not.
Like the opening verse from Proverbs, I’m also reminded of times when I had a sprained ankle, sore knee, or cramp in my hip. Every step was taken cautiously because I didn’t know if my leg would actually support my weight or if I’d end up in a heap on the floor.
It’s a very uncomfortable (and unsettling) feeling to wonder if I’ll have what I need in the moment. Will things get done on time or will I be left scrambling to fill in the gap someone else left behind? In times of trouble, will my friends be there? Or will they show up only if it’s convenient?
This week’s character quality of dependability is fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice. It’s being reliable rather than inconsistent. It’s being trustworthy to honor my commitments and following through on my promises.
In order to be dependable, I must first be thoughtful about what I say I’ll do. Before I sign up to bring a Crock-Pot of chili to feed teachers during conferences, check my calendar for other appointments that day. Before I take on a 6000-page project with a deadline in four weeks, consider how many pages I can realistically process in a day. Before I agree to write an article about a missions trip at church, think about the other things I have to do in the same time period.
But even if I’ve thought things through before volunteering to do something, life happens. The garage door breaks. A child gets sick. A necessary trip to visit a dying grandparent gets added to the calendar.
When the unexpected comes my way, do I still find a way to do what I said I’d do? Even if I have to stay up late? Or skip my favorite television show? Or find a Starbucks in another state so I can check my email and post a blog? Or have a friend bring the chili so the organizer isn’t left in the lurch? Can others count on me to follow through?
I don’t want to be considered a bad tooth or a lame foot. I want to be dependable.
What about you? Are you quick to commit to something or thoughtful about the cost? Have you ever regretted saying “Yes” to something? Is it easy to be dependable?