We build our own prisons, and carry them around. We bang our heads against heavy bars, and silently cry out for help. Some manipulative moves force us to our knees and we become immovable objects, trapped in the misery of our circumstance.
I felt like a caged bird. Trapped. Powerless.
What does it mean to be powerless? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of powerless is “without power, strength, or ability; wholly unable to act, influence, etc; helpless, impotent.”
Powerlessness implies a lack of control, yet we hold on to our false power and try to control our hurts. We bury the truth with denial and if that doesn’t pay off, we rationalize. If nothing works, we start the blaming game, losing precious energy, trying to escape our reality. Our lives become unmanageable. Resentments fester and grow like an emotional cancer.
Pity me O LORD, for I am weak. Heal me for my body is sick, and I am upset and disturbed. My mind is filled with apprehension and gloom. (Psalm 6:2-3, TLB)
I felt ashamed.
Problems far too big for me to solve are piled higher than my head. Meanwhile my sins, too many to count, have all caught up with me and I am ashamed to look up. (Psalm 40:12, TLB)
Whatever is covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. So then, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in broad daylight. (Luke 12:2-3, GNB)
I have no idea where you find yourself today. Perhaps you suffered from physical or emotional abuse; perhaps you had to suffer the consequences of having an alcoholic parent; perhaps you made horrible choices; perhaps you were subjected to verbal abuse or drugs; perhaps you had an abortion, or felt the shame of a teenage pregnancy; perhaps you experienced severe rejection by an absent parent or a painful divorce. The fact is, if you find yourself in a cage today, you need to re-examine your life.
Women lose their lives because they don’t realize that they can do things differently. If you stay in the cage too long, you become accustomed to the bars. Your powerlessness becomes your comfort zone. You wait for some external influence to change your situation. If nothing spectacular happens, you become angry and bitter. Unknowingly, you repeat the old family patterns and before long your children suffer the consequence of your ignorance. We lose respect for ourselves and our confidence disappears. How can we expect other people to respect us if we are deaf to our own inner voice?
The most common reason we stumble into the delusion of powerlessness is that we’re afraid of what other people would do, or say, or feel, if we were to act as we wanted. (Martha Beck)
I knew I had to let it go.
I had to let my carefully constructed life go.
I had to accept the truth of my situation and start the process of healing.
I had to identify each and every false structure in my life;
carefully examine the premise of each argument.
I had to be honest with myself first.
I needed a baseline from where I could present my case to the Lord.
I had to sacrifice the self-life.
I had to sacrifice the person that I have become while I was left to my own devices.
I had to empty myself.
I had to give God space to come in and begin His healing work.
I had to confess that I felt powerless,
that I needed God’s help.
They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and He rescued them! He led them from the darkness and shadow of death and snapped their chains. (Psalm 146:7, TLB)
He frees the prisoners … He lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads. (Psalm 107:13-14, TLB)
I had to find the courage…
I had to settle in my own skin and stay there.
I had to find peace.
I had to let go of everything that tried to rob me of my peace.
I had to learn how to breathe.
I had to learn the art of slowing down and returning to peace.
I had to learn that tears are not a sign of weakness.
Tears soften and open the heart.
If you just start moving, you will feel better. (Oprah Winfrey)
Real power is usually unspectacular, a simple setting aside of fear that allows love. It changes everything. (Martha Beck)
I had to believe that there is a better world out there.
I had to find the open door.
I had to identify my choices.
I had to change my attitude, no longer thinking of myself as a victim of circumstance.
I had to learn to consider my options.
Every freedom can be taken from man except one: the freedom to choose his attitude of mind in any circumstance. (Victor Frankl)
The doors are wide open – women should have the courage to walk through. (Frene Ginwala)
I was ready to sacrifice my heart,
To give up my comfort zone.
I released the fear, not because I had the courage, but because I knew I had to DO something.
Nothing made sense, and for the first time in my life I could not trust my dysfunctional thoughts.
In my loneliness I realized that I could no longer serve myself.
My desperation for God overshadowed my fear.
God’s presence in my life annihilated my pride.
He made me aware of His grace.
He made me aware of my true self.
I was still sitting in my cage.
I had a lot of work to do.
I had a magnitude of realities to face.
But something stirred inside;
I felt a freedom that I never experienced before.
When we connect to God, we have access to a never-ending source of power. If you are struggling to let it all go; if you have issues with trust, consider reading the following verses to encourage yourself:
The Lord is my helper and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me. (Hebrews 13:6, TLB)
Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18, NCV)
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him…let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2, TEV)
No one can be a slave to two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24, GNB)
Pride ends in a fall, while humility brings honor. (Proverbs 29:23, TLB)
Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. (Matthew 6:34, TLB)
Whoever clings to his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall save it. (Luke 17:33, TLB)
A NEW Beginning…
When we gradually release the burden of our unexpressed grief, we can slowly move out of our past. If you acknowledge the truth of your life story, and you mourn for the little girl on the inside, God gives you the grace to re-parent yourself with gentleness, humour, love and respect. You can leave the cage, and savour it as a beautiful memory. You can even fly past it to thank God for rescuing you. God will open your wings, He will give you life, and you will receive JOY!
Know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18)
No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear in this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, TLB)
It is the task of the adults to help children to accept themselves as they are and to get them to feel happy in their own bodies, even when it is not fitting in the general traditional idea of the mainstream. Parents and health workers should not teach them that mutilating their genitals and living inside a skin costume of the opposite sex is the way to peace and contentment, because studies have shown this is not the case. A life lived in medicalised pretence is not a happy or healthy one.
But we should be open to helping those who have come into adult age, and even when for some that may look late, when they are in their twenties and then changing, there are still many years to come to live in a ‘renewed body’.
Let’s hope the tide is turning, for the sake of our children.