Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who has the power here?

Like many others, I sometimes “give away power” in my life. I give away the power to approve me, to validate or affirm my skills, ambitions, desires, dreams. I give away the power to define who I am and what it is that I will do with this life.

Over the years, I have cast different players into the power position. Who they are is less important to me than recognizing that they exist. So, the question for me is often, “who has the power here?”

When I am holding the power, I live in a place of self-definition, of being true to who I was created and wired to be, to the gifts and talents I’ve been given and that have been nurtured through years of success and challenge. When I give away the power, my gaze is on someone else, some other person that I have granted an extraordinary power to define me. Hmm.

The other day, I was speaking with a person I respect about an opportunity that is in front of me. My radar was on high alert because the conversation was invariably going to open up an old wound and remind me of a season in my life where I gave away much of the power to define myself. I asked the guy if he thought the events of that time would preclude me from consideration in this new opportunity. His response puzzled me.

“Well, that’s up to you,” he said.

I didn’t challenge him in the moment, but I listened carefully to his words. “It’s up to me?” It didn't make sense. Hmm.

After a couple days of reflection I began to understand. You see, the deal with giving away power is that it’s all going on inside of me. Not those I’ve given the power to. So, taking back the power to stand and live in the truth of being me is simply a choice that I alone can make. “It’s up to you” makes all the sense in the world.