"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
I don't know where I saw this quote, but I jotted it down (like I do so many quotes that I like) and quickly moved on to the next task. The quote kept nudging the edge of my thoughts. I would look at it, and then put it aside again, and again. But it won't let go.
The truth is, I tend to get caught up in the routine of my life and forget that I have any power. I fight the cycle of get the teenagers to do their homework, pull the four year-old off the furniture, make the meals, do the laundry, and maybe, if I work it in, read my Bible or seek to help others outside our home. Then I collapse in bed only to get up and do it all over again. And I wonder why I have this restlessness that says "things don't have to be like this." I don't want to be controlled by the routine. I want to be a transforming factor in my life not a conforming minion.
I've been doing interesting reading these last few weeks about injustice and ethics (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lachs by Rebecca Skloot) and extreme courage in a time of absolute evil (Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family by Miep Gies and Alison Leslie Gold). That part of me that fueled the social worker of the past wants to be a righter of wrongs. But the pragmatic person sitting here is not sure she could be a voice for justice anymore. Notice I said could be, because right now I'm pretty sure I am not.
This week I've been following the Compassion bloggers who are in Ecuador. I'm overwhelmed, again, to see the poverty...and the hope...that these bloggers bring to their readers. Once again, I'm challenged. As a Compassion sponsor I act on a belief that an organisation like Compassion can and does release children from poverty. I am happy with how I see my small funds go to help children. I love receiving the letters and pictures that show that they are growing and healthy. I cry and I pray when I receive letters that say that they have been ill but are still going to school. I write letters because I hope that I give some encouragement. But it takes trips like the current Ecuador trip to remind me that what we are doing is sharing the power we have with those who don't have it. Shannan Martin has absolutely wrecked my world this week with her posts, but this one about not losing hope has reminded me that there is a reason why I sponsor kids.
As I've mentioned before, we are studying Acts this season at church. Sunday we were looking at Acts 15. We were challenged by the questions--"Do you believe the gospel is good news?" and "If you believe it, are you living it out?" We were further challenged to consider the choices we make, and in areas that are not sin-related to consider if our choices are helpful or beneficial to others in their walk with God or toward God. It is a reminder that I hold a power to help and to encourage or to distract and to discourage. My choices matter. And I need to not forget that power. Because even if I am acting in such a way that says I am powerless to affect big changes, the decisions I make are impacting others. I want that impact to be intentional and God-honouring, not incidental.
So as I think about a year of taking what God says Seriously!, I am thankful for the reminders that I can be a voice for those in need and that the choices of my life speak volumes about justice, equality and hope. I want to be intentional that they are speaking for God's justice and God's hope. Giving people God's power is an exchange I can be happy to make.