As I am working through two books I set up for myself to read in the month of August, I was struck by a thought in one of them that resonated with something I said myself to you all in a post on August 13th.
I was listing some reasons I felt I had grown a bit languid in my spiritual journey and I wrote this as one of the places I could see a shift:
The quiet cloistering of Covid that made it possible to feel like I was walking by faith when in reality I was learning to walk by resignation
This week, I was reading from a book called “His Mighty Strength” by Randy Frazee and I came upon a quote that seemed to be speaking into that exact pit fall.
Randy is discussing our feelings of “powerlessness” and the basis of his book was birthed in a time when he was betrayed by, not one, but several people.
There seems to have been a main Judas and then some accomplices. I have not uncovered the nature of the betrayal, and perhaps he will not divulge the details which is fine with me.
Betrayal is betrayal. The damage and healing are what matter, not the blame and names.
As he dealt with the pain of this in his life, he became depressed and empty.
He contends that at various points in our lives we will feel some degree of powerlessness and it is usually a wake up call that we actually are quite without power over much of life, whether we feel like it or not.
In addressing his unknown audience, he asks the reader to rate where you currently are on the scale of feeling you have a measure of power or are completely powerless and then he speaks into each of those answers.
For the ones who admit they are powerless, he had this to say:
His Mighty Strength by Randy Frazee; Nelson Books, 2021. pg. 22
“How vulnerable are you in that powerlessness? Is it possible that, just maybe, you are actually invulnerable in your powerlessness? That you are living in a state of self-protection and unwilling to even consider the possibility that you or your circumstances could change? To be invulnerable is to be incapable of being wounded or harmed. To be invulnerable in powerlessness is to use powerlessness as protection – to fold your arms, isolate yourself, and erect a fortress around whatever you have left. Self-protection is a natural response to threat, but it’s meant to be a temporary measure, not a lifestyle.”
Okay…first of all….
I just read a description of me when I am living under any kind of perceived threat.
Rather than be vulnerable, I tend to:
- Live in a state of self-protection
- Consider that it is impossible for my circumstances to change, so I dig in and dwell right there
- I pull back so I can not be further harmed or wounded
- I fold my arms…literally
- I isolate myself…physically and mentally and emotionally
- And I totally get what it means to erect a fortress around whatever is left
I get protective of what I can still manage and I develop a microscopic view that focuses on whatever remains that might bring me a sense of joy, peace and control.
I love that he points out this okay as a temporary measure, but not a lifestyle.
And so I stop here and thank God for the Word that convicts me as I read and study, the people (ahem particularly my husband) He has always placed around me who pull me back out and the Holy Spirit who reminds me by nudges and stepping on my toes that it is not for setting up a homestead in this place of self-protection that I was called out of darkness.
It is good to recognize that as we are being launched out into a new way of living in community and as we adapt to so many changes; we will have some major adjustments to make.
It is important to remember to remain vulnerable, not hardened, as we sense how little we have control over the circumstances that make up our every day life.
It is vital that we keep our hearts tender and open to the struggles others are going through and we continue to ask ourselves how we can spend and extend our own resources to be salt and light in this world.
And it is imperative that we remain firmly attached to the source of Life and Power that comes daily to meet us at our point of need.
Blessings on each of you today as you receive His power to live and move and serve and worship Him in this world.