Empty Promises, Chapter 5
“The Perils of Power”
When I first saw the title of this chapter, I didn’t think I would really relate to this part of the book. I couldn’t have been MORE wrong. Do I crave “power”? I didn’t think so… but then I looked at this list of questions:
-- Do you get upset when people don’t specifically do things the way you want them to be done?
-- Do you have a hard time following the rules other people establish? Do you often believe you know a better way?
-- When things go wrong, do you tend to shift blame to others?
-- Do you find yourself needing to win every single argument you’re in?
-- Do you sometimes ‘play games’ or manipulate others to get your way?
-- Do you often lose your temper when situations don’t go your way?
-- Do tool malfunctions (car trouble, computer trouble, etc.) really push your buttons?
-- Have you ever been told you have “control issues”?
Oh boy…..I guess I do struggle with the Power Drug. I always labeled myself a bit of a “control freak”. Didn’t really see that as craving power, but now I see the similarities.
“We all like to feel we have a say in what happens in our lives. We all like to win, to make a difference, to do something significant, to have others look up to us. So how do we know whether our drive for significance has morphed into idolatry, that we’re headed down the slippery slope and have begun to worship power?” – pg 75
TWO RED FLAGS
1. Avoiding Failure – When any of us allow power to become an idol in our lives, we begin to get our very sense of identity from it. As a result, we’ll do everything in our control to cover up any hit of weakness – whatever suggests we’re not the commanding, in-charge kind of person we so desperately long to be.
2. Refusing Correction -- We become impatient and rebellious toward the rules and processes that other people establish. Believing there’s always a better way…. And that better way is MY way. – Also the inability to admit we’re wrong and a resistance to being held accountable.
“God is always in control – which means we’re not. That’s a tough thing for many of us to not only believe but also accept—especially those of us who like our power. In fact, I think one of the greatest illusions we buy in to is the illusion of control.” – pg. 73
NOT AS I WILL
“You don’t have to be in charge, because you have a God who’s got your back. He’ll take care of everything, and there’s only one thing you have to do. You have to surrender.” – pg. 85
“There is a life-changing, identity-forming power available when we’re willing to say to God, ‘I give up my drive for power, and I surrender.’ When we finally get it through our heads that there is a God and we’re not him.” – pg 86
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
“The Hebrew word for “be still” literally means “let go.” It tells us to cease striving at the level of human effort.
Be still and let go of your own understanding.
Be still and let go of your own human effort.
Be still and let go of your desire for more power.
Be still and let go of your need to control outcomes.
Be still and be reminded that you are finite…. But God is infinite.
Be still and let God be God in the most intimate places of your life. Because in the end, that’s the only power that will change anything.” – pg. 88
What areas of your life do you need to “be still” in? ---Myself, I’ve really had to struggle with “letting go” of my children. My youngest is getting the brunt of it. I realize I’ve been clinging to him with everything I have, still trying to control every aspect of his life because… well, because it’s one thing I could control. And a huge part of my identity over the last 20 years has been being a “Mom”. What will I do with myself once the kids are all grown and don’t need me anymore? What on earth will I control now??? (I can feel the panic setting in just typing that.) Be still Marcia… be still.