To Be Empowered

Empowerment. We need people in our lives who build us up. Not tear us down. For me, I was in a relationship where after the years went by, it deteriorated to the extent to where I felt like my value was in my body or my looks. I didn't realize the magnitude of this mentality I possessed until we were broken to a point of no wishy-washiness. We were broken out of this perpetual and stagnant cycle. As I leaned in, choosing God and refusing my ex-boyfriend, God stepped in and said, "No more."

I didn't realize that this misplaced belief of value was such an issue until he was really gone. All of a sudden I had these if statements come up. "If I am not pretty enough then no one will like me." "If I gain a lot of weight, I will be less desirable as a person." "If I am not Godly enough, I won't get the kind of person I want." I realized the onslaught of these dangerous "if statements" happening within me, and knew something was wrong. I knew something had changed. Because I didn't have these sort of thoughts before. I wrote about it in the blog The Source of Joy & Validation. What had changed, was the fact that the person who defined my value, was removed. I didn't even know this was happening. I didn't realize he had this power. But that is what happens, right? We give other people the power to define us or to define our value. What happens when that source is removed? For me, this is what happened. I still battle with these beliefs, particularly the "if" statement about being Godly enough. As I wrote in The Source of Joy & Validation, my source of worth should come from the living God, who stepped in and set me free in ways I could not do for myself. It is hard when we have come from a place of bondage, and need to move to a place of freedom. You carry these things with you. You carry these inadequacies and these false beliefs. And the hardest part of all, is surrendering these things to God.

In church the other week, the question was asked, "What is it that you want from Jesus?" For me, the answer was immediately, "To be whole." And the thing is, that is what Jesus came to do. He came to make us whole. He came so we may know him and so that we may see what it is to love others. After I said to myself that I wanted Jesus to make me whole, I felt like he said, "I already have."

When we give people this power over us to decide who we are and what we are worth, we are joining in on a path of destruction. We are not built up. We are not empowered. We are made to feel less whole when Jesus has made us whole, and when we have already been redeemed. One thing I have learned, is that a relationship that doesn't bring out the best in you and push you to be a better person, can stifle your passions and cause you to lose yourself. This goes for relationships of every kind, friendships, etc. I have friendships with people across the world, who empower me in amazing ways. They build me up. They speak to me harshly if need be, out of love. My relationship with my son's father didn't do this. And I was made to feel like I was just some hot piece of ass. Do I think of myself in these terms? Of course not. Good lord. But did this create these false "if" statements that demean the very woman I am? Yes, it did.

What caused me to think about all this today, is the way this person made me believe that I am not a good writer. I genuinely believed this about myself. I still find it hard to believe that people think I am any good at all. But I have been told this by many people, time and time again since I have started writing more on this blog. And it is shocking and so kind, yet hard for me to believe. I stopped writing for years. I was not empowered in my lifelong love affair with words during my relationship with this person. Over the years, it just went to the wayside. And as I stopped doing well as a person, my writing stopped. I wrote a little about my journey with writing in Why I Write. I have never written because of any perceived skill. I have written because it was my outlet. It was the language of my soul; my first language. It gave me life. My world was chaos, and it steadied me. Often times, it is where I met God. Or myself.

I remember as a young girl, fleeing my house and going into the pool area. I would sit on the long poolside chairs with the plastic slats with my journal in the dark. I would see the tears fall on my pages and on my words. God was with me then in that gated pool, just as he is with me now. My relationship with my ex-boyfriend did not empower me in this area of writing. It stripped me of my language. This wasn't a purposeful thing that happened. It happens over years and over bad and good things. We harmed each other, but we also loved. We still do, even if for me, it is now a platonic love.

Now, slowly, people are surprising me with these words of affirmation and encouragement. They even say I am a good writer, and it is just crazy to me. Just crazy. My intent in writing has never been to be good. It has always been just to live. But I do love it, and it has shown me in another way, how toxic relationships can strip you of who you are and what you love. We must empower one another, in love. In every relationship we have, be it a parenting relationship, romantic, friendship, business, whatever it is. If this isn't happening, it is not a positive or healthy relationship. Maybe this means that we need to change our posture and align it to one more of love. A lot of times, it seems like this lack of empowerment comes from a lack of understanding. Maybe we need to listen to peoples hearts more and get out of our own heads.

And for me, I am writing again. I hope I continue. And I am feeling this staggered network of empowerment by people who don't even realize they are a part of building these blocks up that have been taken down. I believed something about myself for years, and it is crazy to see how the opposite of these beliefs are now being expressed to me. It's crazy, but also just so cool.

So bottom line, let us empower one another in love. Because we must. And because there is too much beauty, too many gifts, too much life in those people around us, to not take notice of and build up in love.