You're Not Powerless, You're Power-full
I've had more than a few moments in my life where I felt powerless, and I can tell you that those moments produced some of the most disorienting and difficult feelings I've ever felt.
Most of us have felt that disorientation more often than we like.
Maybe we had to watch a loved one waste away with a terminal illness, a child makes poor choices, a loved one walks away from us, or the promotion we thought was ours go to someone else.
And our powerlessness sometimes extends beyond our own spheres of influence to the world around us. We feel powerless as our society becomes more divided and less loving. We feel powerless as we watch the earth despoiled, wars fail to cease, and so much more.
An odd paradox exists in those moments of disorientation that we fight against with all our might. Because admitting we are powerless is the first step toward finding real peace and acceptance of ourselves and others.
It's also the first step in realizing that even though we might be powerless, there is One who isn't and who has greater purposes for us than we might imagine.
Author Catherine Chapman recently wrote:
Admitting we are powerless over people, places and things, and that our lives have become unmanageable, can be one of the most difficult, yet one of the most freeing, admissions of our lives. Admitting our powerlessness frees us to allow the One who is Power to become active in our lives.
Admitting we are powerless is one of the most challenging things to do when we live in a culture that favors the powerful and often views it as an ultimate virtue.
And most of us feel it's a sign of weakness to admit that we have no power over people, places, and things. We want to white-knuckle our way through our challenges in life, determined to make things work on our own.
But when we do, we deny ourselves the opportunity to see what God can and will do when we surrender our need for control.
Admitting powerlessness over some things that we can't control doesn't mean that we deny the power within us to change---we're simply adjusting our understanding of the source of that power.
And in so doing, we give ourselves the freedom to fail better. Because we all come to surrender imperfectly, with stops and starts along the way. Still, God is with us, leading us if we are willing to be led.
Fr. Richard Rohr once wrote in his fantastic book Breathing Underwater:
“God brings us—through failure—from unconsciousness to ever-deeper consciousness and conscience.”
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