Sonship Life Skills to Overcome Powerlessness and Build Identity
Tom has worked hard on his job. He’s always the first one there and the last to leave. There’s an opening for a promotion and Tom plans on being the one to get it. He’s all in, this is the dream, he’s worked hard.
The big day finally comes. There are knots in his stomach as he arrived that morning. It’s almost lunch and nobody seems to know anything. When he returns from lunch he keeps noticing people congratulating Monica and his stomach drops.
Tom’s wife had been telling him for months to tell his boss of his intentions. Even now she suggests he go and ask what happened. Maybe there’s something he can learn for the future. Yet, he just can’t bring himself to do it. Fear overcomes him every time.
If we were to look into Monica’s life we’d see a real go getter, a mover and shaker. She let her boss know a long time ago she was interested in the position. She had confidence in her competence. She wasn’t afraid to try. She figured, “If this company doesn’t see my value, someone else will.”
Many people have experienced disappointment in their walks with God. They’ve had prayers that have gone unanswered, dreams unfulfilled. That healing that didn’t come, that ministry outreach that never got off the ground, etc.
The root of powerlessness is often in a weak identity. Identity — “I’m a child of God with all of the rights and privileges that come with that. I have access to my Father, His wisdom and resources. I’m not a red-headed step-child.“
How do we get this level of self-worth? We first learn our identity in our homes growing up. If our parents could use boundaries rather than shame, we learn self-worth. We have to learn to be potty trained, not to play with breakables, not to pull our sister’s hair, how to throw the ball, etc. If it was okay to make a mistake, if patience was used with correction we learn that we have worth as a son/daughter. As the teens approach and our own thoughts and feelings were respected, yet healthy consequences were not erased, maturity begins to take root. We have the freedom to try, to take initiative, to not be devastated by a mistake.
All abuse on the other hand, tears down identity and thus creates powerlessness. When I don’t do something right I’m told something’s wrong with me. If I like the latest style “all the kids are wearing,” I’m told only freaks wear that.
All of this stuff gets transferred to how we view God. If someone struggles with condemnation, powerlessness, putting a lot of pressure on themselves and others, striving, performance–the roots may be in a weak identity as a child of God. We feel God, like people, is also demanding and not respectful of our boundaries.