Thursday, August 13, 2009

From Powerless to Powerful in Christ

If you feel power-less in some relationships I am believing you can come to being
powerful in Christ. I'm learning absolute surrender to Lord Jesus Christ opens up life with open hands and heart with others.

Before I surrendered all I tried to protect myself and I lived much of my
life with clenched fists. No...not to knock out folks; to guard myself, feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Seems I had a hard time saying no to requests and I would end up overwhelmed in activities for family, church, school,
community and work. I was tired and frustrated. Learning about boundaries and praying for God's best in my life was my breakthrough. My prayer today is that I can share what is working in my life. Hopefully, God will show you His
perfect way to untangle any areas of control and passivity in your life that block you from His thriving abundant life.

Yesterday I used my pastor's analogy of how a river can be a
powerful body of water if its banks are strong and keep the water contained to flow instead of seeping into the surrounding ground and make a swamp. The Bible tells me a river of living water will flow out of my belly. With eternal destiny in mind, I will use this river word picture throughout this series.

I'm discovering that boundaries:
  • define who I am
  • say what I want
  • mark out what I don't want
  • state my goals and purpose for life and safeguard them
  • say where I end and another person starts
My "river" has its banks. Other people can do whatever they want to in their "river" but they can't control the activity in my "river." These river banks are set and no one may redefine these parameters except me and the Lord.

Jesus Christ lived in His "river" beautifully and powerfully:

- He left the crowds that clamored for His attention to care for Himself.
- He did not allow His person or agenda to be changed or be redirected by anyone.
- He stayed Himself regardless of what anyone else wanted.
- He could not be tempted or swayed away from His purpose.

He is my example of staying true to oneself.

I study His last hours often. He chose when He would even speak to all His interrogators when He was on trial; and when He would remain silent. That is ultimate refusal to be controlled on anyone else's agenda. In that intense crisis, He maintained His "river." He never gave up His control.

I had lived in reaction to others so completely I had a difficult time figuring out how to openly set my boundaries. I sneaked whatever control I had over my life through procrastination and other passive/aggressive means. Upfront planned conscious stating of boundaries was foreign to me. I am a Southern woman........we pride ourselves in never breaking a sweat or wrinkling our clothes with anything but perfect grace. Ha! I do have a bit of that in me; and it was a stumbling block to getting free in Christ.

I recall one time many decades ago. My husband and I hit one of those tough times in marriage and an older woman was counselling me asked me, "What do you want, Kay?" I was speechless. I had a thousand ought's, should's, Bible verses, etc., but I was clueless on what I, Kay, wanted as a woman (not necessarily the wife, mother, church leader). The beginning of setting boundaries involved me searching my heart in prayer with Christ to discover;
  • What I want
  • What I don't want
  • What I like
  • How I can best use my time, how I won't use my time.
I imagine Jesus Christ living out my life and I imagine what boundaries would He insist on in this life. Once I had written all of this I had a "river" to start building the banks to hold it in place and prevent erosion that makes a river a swamp. It has changed in these years. Now, I am a widow and a writer. My boundaries of 20 years ago would not hold in this river to be powerful.

Now that I know what I want and don't want in my life (my borders) then it is easier to say "yes" to what fits and "no" to what does not so that I can pursue the Lord's plan for my life.

Boundary establishment probably brought the most change and the greatest pain of anything God has called for in my transformation as a Christian. The freedom and the peace of mind is more than worth it's cost, but I would be amiss if I didn't write that the pain was intense. Once my boundaries were in place I stopped letting others step on my toes. I was no longer pushed into doing anything that was not best for me in God's plan for my life. On top of all that; I did it (in time) guiltless! Oh hallelujah to the rid of guilt!!!

Discovery # 1: Folks didn't like not being able to tell me what to do and how to do regularly. No matter how politely I declined church volunteering opportunities that I had before done to make leaders happy; I had folks on the outs with me.

Discovery # 2: Controlling people revved up their tactics to try to push through my personal parameters. This was especially true of my mom.

Discovery # 3: I had to keep my guard up and keep my calling clear in my mind or I would hand over my controls and find myself pressured and manipulated into something I shouldn't be doing.

Obviously I'm not "done" yet. A friend at church asked me to alter some clothes for her. She assured me there was no time pressure. But she emailed yesterday that she now realizes she needs them for this weekend. Bam! I was up until very late wrestling with an aggravating sewing machine and finally I sewed the last stitch. I mean the last stitch. New rocks in my river more sewing favors unless Holy God directs me to do it. I have a adult child in a tough place needing my undivided attention for a few days. Now, I'm tired and what would have been peaceful ministry will be ministry with fatigue. Perfect example of letting down the guard.

Good things can get in the way of best things.

Boundary establishment was my beginning of understanding how I never give my life controls to anyone but God. Developing my boundaries has given me understanding of other's boundaries. I'm convinced you can't overcome being controlled until you face where you are also controlling of others. Tomorrow I will jump into the ways I found I feared situations and I was the controller. Hold on, before this series is finished I may show you ways you subconsciously control others. In Christ you and I can truly handle all that comes to us in life. Fear has no way to drive us to surrendering our life controls or trying to control others.

Boundaries, control, and transparent honest living have to do with my faith in God, His Word and His promises to me. Lack of faith opens up the dangers of life lived out of fear. Shame and fear are the main backbones of all control coping. Shoot down shame and fear; control has no purpose.

Until tomorrow.........Live in peace!!!


Kelly Combs said...

Your quote "Good things can get in the way of best things" reminded me of another quote I ask myself:

"Is it a GOOD thing or a GOD thing?"

Just because something is good doesn't mean it is God's plan for your to tackle at this time. So that is the measuring stick I use when someone wants me to do soemthing wonderful, but perhaps just not for my schedule at the time.

Laura Capell said...

WHOOOOO!!! Good stuff - good stuff. Thanks for opening up this series & yourself.
Love you!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...


I'm so looking forward to your future posts where you will be expanding on these thoughts! And I,too, was especially captivated when you said "Good things can get in the way of best things." How true this is!

I feel like I am both controlled and controlling. Keeps me pulled this way and that. Maybe you can help me set some boundaries through this series!

Love ya! Mississippi

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.