As someone said, and I’m paraphrasing, “We can’t always control our circumstances but we can control our response to them.” A part of me knew that when I started looking into the idea of power this year, I would be bombarded with experiences that would not only transform my understanding of power, but also my lack of it…and it was the latter I was most concerned about. Face it, no one wants to feel powerless, but we all do. How we respond to the kinds of circumstance that limits power and control, not only change the dynamics, it also changes the level of power those circumstances exert.
While being forced (always against my will, even considering the learning curve) in situations that have limited the power I have over certain circumstances, I have figured out that just curling up and dying isn’t a viable option. I’ve applied the old saying, “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” too many times in the last few months. Granted, I have come out stronger, but have limited feelings about how it has empowered my life. I’m putting that into the time will tell column. I will say, though, I’m not overpowered by them…at least yet.
I’ve also become more aware of the types of things, many that are simple that we let overpower us on a daily basis: addictions, fears, money, health, the future…and so many more, I’m sure. Sometimes, the empowering response is to recognize that we all need help once in a while to combat difficult circumstances, sometimes the empowering response is to quit depending on other people to solve our problems and use our own abilities. It’s often difficult to pinpoint what response is best. For addicts, one must acknowledge they are powerless over their addiction, and the following 11 steps can help you through it. For health issues, sometimes enlisting help means getting the necessary help from health professionals. The overpowering response would be to blame others or an addiction, or in terms of health, expect doctors to “fix” you without making changes to your lifestyle in response to any disease.
The most crucial, in my book anyway, is how to respond to situations where there is no ability to change a circumstance, a death, life ending disease or life altering injury just to name a few. For me, then, the greatest mechanism of empowerment is my faith. I go back constantly to one particular phrase in scripture MT 7:7-10:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asks for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him
I do feel empowered when I ask for things in prayer, even though I think my overpowering circumstance may seem silly compared to many others I see and hear, I do believe that my prayer will be answered. The trick to continued empowerment is to be open to however God, in God’s infinite wisdom, decides to answer my prayer, i.e. actually letting go of control of the situation and using God’s power to move forward. The older I get, and the stronger I am via learning through tough circumstance means that God’s answer often pushes me harder and farther than when I was younger (which is good, but sometimes sucks when you just want to coast for a bit), but the result, regardless of how difficult getting there was, generally turns out for the better. Sometimes the result won’t be apparent for a long time, but I pretty solid on feeling answered up to this point
So empowerment, vs being overpowered is still a personal choice, in my book. That’s not to say feeling overpowered at any given moment is a bad thing, its when the emotional decision to stay there, do nothing and let it drain all the goodness within, is where it becomes a tragedy and builds a stronghold for fear, anger, hatred, judgement and all other sorts of darkness that thrive as a result of doing nothing. Simply asking for help, whether it be in prayer or a hand held out to another, isn’t doing nothing. It may be the most empowering step.