You Are Never Powerless

You are never powerless.  This is what God said to me, after learning that doctors found a spot on my dad’s liver that needed to be biopsied.  

I know that God purposefully put me where I was when my mom texted me the news about my dad.  I was in the first day, in the first hour, of training in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  We were on Habit #1:  Be Proactive.  There I was, learning what it meant to be proactive rather than reactive.  Realizing, that I have a tendency to be a reactive person.  I tend to let worry and stress overtake me quite frequently.  I react to life and try to figure out how I’m going to deal with it, many times feeling overcome with disappointment, overwhelmed with stress, and powerless.  I know how to play the victim.  But there I was learning that proactive people are not victims.  Proactive people realize that, while they may not be able to control the outcome of an event, they can always control the way they respond to the event or to the outcome.  They can control their attitude, their behavior, their outlook.  Proactive people realize that they always have a choice.  Proactive people are never powerless.

So, I was listening to this and feeling empowered.  It really dawned on me, for the first time, that I always have a choice in every event in my life.  The choice lies within me.  I cannot control other people or what life throws at me.  But I can control me.  I decide how I want to respond, how I want to look at what life hands out.  And as I was feeling this wonderful, empowering feeling, my mom texted me that doctors found a spot on my dad’s liver that needed to be biopsied.  And, immediately, I was crushed.  I became worried, stressed, and scared all at once.  And immediately, in my reactive state, I wanted to shout out to the presenter, “Oh yeah, well how can this help me now?  I do not have a choice now, do I?”  And just as soon as I had that thought, God spoke to me.  And He told me that there is always something we can do.  It is the most powerful thing we will ever do in our lifetimes.  He told me that I can pray.  

You see, I know that God purposefully put me in that training when I received that news.  He knew that I needed to be open to the fact that we are never powerless.  He knew that I needed to learn what being proactive was all about, so that He could show me that even in the scariest, worst circumstances in our lives, we always have a choice.

Remember, there is always something you can do when life hits hard.  You can always pray.  You can always hope.  You can always trust.

You are never powerless.

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A Powerful God

Today at Mass we were reminded of how powerful God is.  How he knows all the hairs on our head.  How he hears all of our prayers all of the time.  How he transcends time and space and is with each and every one of us every moment of every day.  He is so very powerful.  It was the perfect message this morning, not just for me, but for my son, my 13 year old, who I have been praying for unceasingly and today I was shown that God was not only hearing my prayers, but He was answering them in a way I never would have expected.

For a reason that no one could figure out, my son has been having a hard time, physically, during our weekly school Masses.  He feels faint, sick, weak.  It has been going on for quite some time and has been a source of embarrassment for him.  It has made him not want to go to Mass.  We’ve taken him to doctors, even specialists and no one can tell us why this happens.  This morning, before we left for school, for the first time ever, my son asked me to pray that he does well in Mass today.  I was hit instantaneously at how amazing that moment was.  My son has never asked me to pray for anything.  In that instant, God showed me that in this weakness that has befallen my son, He has brought him to a place where he is now learning to seek God’s help.  Not only that, but God must also be teaching my son that with prayer, God can do anything.  Because for my son to ask for my prayer, he must be learning that prayer is a powerful tool, a powerful weapon.

For this to happen, was powerful to me.  But, what’s even more amazing, is that this was not the only moment that God showed his grace.  You see, just yesterday, during adoration, I was reading a book and the section I happened to be reading was about surrender.  I underlined this section, because it spoke to me in things that I myself have been dealing with: “When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we release the Lord of the Process to do this work.  For it is in our weakness that Christ is strong.  It is in our inadequacy that we find him more than sufficient.  And it is in our willingness to be broken that he brings wholeness–more wholeness and completeness than we ever dreamed possible.”  Joanna Weaver, 2013.

I couldn’t help but recall that section this morning, when my son asked me to pray for him.  God showed me that even if my son continues to not feel well physically in Mass, He is pouring out His grace on him in his weakness, He is fixing his spirit.  And so, before I went to Mass this morning, I asked God to show my son just how powerful prayer is.  Just how powerful He is.  And then, the priest gave his homily. 

And it was all about the power of God.

Humble

Everyone should have an outlet, a passion, something they love to do just because they love doing it.  For me, that is running.   It was only 3 years ago that I started running, at the age of 37 and it took hold of me and set me free.  It was a gift that God showered down on me at a time in my life when I needed something to give me confidence and joy again.  I went from never having run, well, anything, to running and winning 5Ks and then running 10Ks and then right into half marathons.  It was a release, an escape, and it even became spiritual for me, as I found myself using the time to talk to God.

In the years that followed, my running ability has steadily declined.  My body took a toll that first year, when I went all out.  Now, I only run a couple of 5Ks a year and no halfs.  Now, I am just grateful if I can get out there and run 3 1/2 miles a few times a week.  And I do because it is still a spiritual escape for me, a time when I can talk to God and praise Him, as I look around at nature and take in its beauty.

On a recent weekday run, my mind drifted, as it often does when I run, and I found myself thinking about how good I was doing with various aspects of my job and how strong I felt running.  And immediately, I found myself asking God to help me stop exalting myself.  I saw right away that I was feeling very in control of my life and it scared me.  I have learned, throughout the years, that as soon as I start feeling that power, that control, that praise in my own talents and abilities–that is when everything tends to start falling apart.  Because that is when I rely on my own strength, my own abilities, and I stop relying on God.  That is not a good place to be.  So, I immediately asked, as hard as it was, that God humble me.  That I come down from my high point where all I can see is myself and be brought back down to a level where God is my focal point again.  It’s not an easy prayer to say, because when I ask to be humbled, it means swallowing my pride–it means defeat in some aspect of my life–and it is a very hard thing to know when you have been defeated and to have to  swallow your pride.  I know this all too well, as I have watched my running ability ever so slowly be lessened and lessened.  That is when you have to rely on God’s goodness and trust that His plan is far better than your own.

I said that prayer a couple of weeks ago and life went on.  God answered that prayer just a few days ago.  Again, a weekday run.  Recently, I had been experiencing some pain in my hip/hamstring area and I was having to take it easy on my running.  A regular occurrence these days.  I’ve been running with my husband, who only started running with me about a year ago and not steadily until recently.  He’s been running to lose weight.  Naturally, he’s been a slower runner than I have, since I’d been running longer and was in better shape.  Until now.  On this run, my husband passed me up.  And then, on the next run, my husband passed me up again.  How could that be?  I’ve run (and won) tons more 5ks, I’ve run half marathons.  For 3 years running has been my life.  He’s only been running steadily for about a year.   How could he be passing me up?  It was a blow to my pride.  I prayed, again a very hard prayer to say when your pride is wounded, that God help me to be happy for him, to help me let go of the anger and jealousy and pride that I was feeling.

When I got to work that morning I was still feeling so wounded.  I put my stuff in my office and then I stood by my desk and suddenly, the poster that I hung up just the day before caught my eye.  It was one of those motivational posters, with lots of words on it.  But, in the midst of all those words, I only saw one.  Humble.  The word jumped out and it was all that I could see.  And I knew, in that instant, that God was showing me that one word.  Suddenly, I remembered that prayer that I said a few weeks ago and God was telling me that He was humbling me.  He was humbling me to make me a better person.  He was humbling me so that I would once again rely on Him.  What a gift He had given me.

Because it’s not about being a number 151Y7UBvfc3L._SY450_  runner.  It’s not about being number 1 at your job.  It’s about what is number 1 in your life.  What is your focal point?  What is the one thing you could never live without?  Once again, God humbled me so that all of those other things in life that we start to place such a high value on could be put back in their proper place.  And I could once again see clearly what is most important.  I could once again be made strong in my weaknesses.  Knowing that God’s strength is stronger, God’s plan is better, God’s love is bigger.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.–2 Corinthians 12:9