You can’t be pitiful and powerful.
You have to choose.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little bit about my choice and my journey from pitiful to. . . well, at least more powerful than before.
But what happens after we choose?
We start to live it. We wrangle and wrestle with old things. We learn what we need to let go, what still fits. How to live in our choice.
How to own it.
And then, we have to ask, how do we love each other well, whatever we choose? When we choose to be powerful? When we choose to be pitiful?
A few weeks ago, I sat with a friend. I listened and felt my soul shrinking back and dragging down as the same dark narrative was repeated over and over and over. This thought occurred to me: She is hypnotized by negativity. She didn’t even hear herself. She had no idea that she was telling me the same story, again and again and again, a story that could easily be spun a different way.
And years ago, I remember listening to people older and wiser than I was, but I couldn’t imagine what made them think they knew so much. They were only people, like me. Sometimes I would leave those conversations filled with rage and resentment, missing so much if the wisdom that I could have gleaned from their sharing.
Emotion comes in and wraps itself around us if we let it. We can’t see ourselves, and we can’t hear ourselves, if we allow emotion to be a block to what we really want.
When I want to be powerful, but the person next to me wants to be pitiful, how do I show compassion and patience? How do I sit with their negativity and repeated sob stories without sacrificing my own hard-won positive focus?
When I want to be pitiful, but I sit next to someone who has found their power, how do I really love and learn from them when my natural response is to roll my eyes and stick out my tongue and say, “YEAH, RIGHT! WELL, GOOD FOR YOU! ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW WHAT–I THINK YOU ARE FULL OF IT!!!”
I’m not sure that we have learned this yet as a culture.
How do we love each other well?
How do we know when to grieve? There is a scripture that says to mourn with those who mourn, but what if all they ever do is mourn? Even scripture puts a limit on mourning–God gives His people thirty days to devote to grief–even for the most tragic things. And then it’s time to put down the sackcloth and ashes and begin fighting our way back in to life.
Letting ourselves rest. Being ok with where we are in our process and where others are in theirs, even if we know we are still kind of pitiful sometimes. Seeking our power and deciding not to be quitters. Finding our power and looking at someone else who hasn’t yet, learning how to encourage them forward without trying to push them where they aren’t ready to go.
It’s not easy for any of us.
Heidi Baker talks about asking God, “What does love look like in this situation right now?”
What does love look like in this situation right now?
As you grow in the powerful, as you face down the pitiful, if you struggle with knowing what love looks like in any moment, if you feel those tendrils of impatience or those talons of resentment trying to drag you down, just take a deep breath, and ask silently, “God, what does love look like, with this person, right now?”
He will show you.
Father, we are on a journey to fearless, a journey to powerful. We ask in every moment, that You would show us what love looks like. Eyes to see Your answer, ears to hear Your guidance, hearts that understand what You are asking us to do, and the grace to obey.
We want to grow in our own strength and still love well, wherever we are in our process. You are Love. You live inside us. We trust You to guide us and make Yourself known, even in the most challenging relationships, in the most challenging moments. We give every loved one, every family member, every stranger, every co-worker, every neighbor, every friend, every ex-friend, every attacker. Every person who has ever touched our lives. We forgive those who have trespassed against us. We forgive ourselves for our own trespasses, and we give others permission to forgive us. We look to You to take us higher within ourselves and in every relationship. We look for You to show us what love looks like in every moment. In Jesus, Amen.