Accepting Powerlessness

Abuse strips the person of the freedom to choose. Whether abuse happened only once or it happened several times one thing is clear- to the degree that choice was denied, powerlessness was experienced and self-esteem and dignity was assaulted says Dan Allender in his book The Wounded Heart.

Powerlessness is the sensation of being out of control with no apparent solution to help you to regain control. An abused person will feel powerless and internalize an image of themselves as inadequate, imperfect, deficient or not enough. They will ask themselves why they couldn’t stop the abuse or change the dynamics of the family system. They see themselves as a failure.

Very recently I came face to face with what powerlessness really is. The reason as to why I always felt powerless stems from the abuse suffered as a child. B-u-t that did not excuse what I did with that feeling or sense of powerlessness.

 I had really never fully realized that powerlessness was a control issue.

I’ve  come to terms that there are people, problems and things that are uncontrollable, unchangeable and out of my power to control completely. I’ve realized that I would become so self-preoccupied that I became incapable of reaching out to ask for others’ help and support in facing problems which were beyond my power and control. I would become so frustrated and depressed as I tried to solve the unsolvable problems that my anger and rage would ignite and flare up suddenly, inappropriately, and disproportionately.

I’ve realized the truth of what Dan Allender says in his book, The Wounded Heart: “That trusting in God involves the loss of our agenda, our flaming torch, so that we die to our inclination to live a lie.”

 Yes, powerlessness was something I knew as a child, but when I carried that into my adult life and did not repent of my patterns of seeking life and comfort apart from dependence on God, and trying to control, it was nothing less than self-protection…sin.

When I could not accept powerlessness over the uncontrollables and unchangeables in my life, I would then become frustrated in my attempts to gain control and to try and fix the non-fixables. I would become so defeated by these situations that I couldn’t change that I came to believe myself an inadequate person. As a perfectionist I could never give myself permission to be human. I would forget that I was a human being and as such open to failures and mistakes and not the “perfect being” who is omnipotent and infallible in all things

I would cling to my husband, whom I could not control or change, and thereby frustrating him at times by my incessant efforts to change, correct, or reform him.

I never had a good perspective of my own limits and I wasn’t self-protective of my energy, resources, and spirit in my relentless effort to solve the unsolvable. I struggled with a sense of low self-esteem because I was incapable of making everything right and perfect with all people, places, and things in my life.

When I learned to accept powerlessness as a control issue I recognized the need of the strength and assistance of a Higher Power (God) with whom I could share the solving of my overpowering problems, by letting go of the “pride” of survivorship that says that “only I” can solve my own problems, no matter how big they were, 

 It was the first step in accepting help for any problems which were stronger than myself and were resistant to my efforts to correct.

 It is an honest appraisal of how much control or power I have over problems, situations, people, places, or things.

 In recognizing and accepting that there is a Higher Power (God) who has a role in my life, I am able to put into a healthy perspective how much energy, resources, personal investment, emotional and physical effort and time you need to contribute to the partnership with your Higher Power(God) to face the problems over which I by myself are powerless.

 I don’t like to admit I can’t control something on my own and yet unless I do I will continue to knock my head against a brick wall.

I’ve learned that by making an agreement with powerlessness I denied the power of God to manifest my life. I forfeited who He desired me to be…forgetting that in my weakness is His strength manifested. By continuing to agree to powerlessness I remained in control….or the illusion of control.

By repenting of my control and agreement with powerlessness I go from denial and rebellion to truth and surrender…..from death to life.

I’ve really come to see and understand the wisdom in the following prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

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