The definition of empowerment is to give (someone) the authority or power to do something. This means you can’t empower yourself. It is something that is given or denied by someone else. This is why God puts us in families and churches with mothers and fathers who have authority over us, see the value in us, and champion what God has placed inside of us. I am not talking about when people are using their God-given authority in a healthy way. There is an appropriate time for a parent, leader, teacher, or pastor to protect those in their care by not allowing them to do something. This is healthy and a protective covering. Nor am I talking about entitlement and that people should just be able to do whatever they want when they want it and that no one can tell them “No.” I am talking about when people in authority use the tool of disempowerment to protect something in them that needs to come into alignment. I hope to bring perspective to the dynamics of what happens when parents/leaders use disempowerment as a tool to control those under them.
Orphan – Disempowerment removes parents/leaders from being true mothers and fathers the way God intended homes and churches to operate and therefore opens them up to the demonic simply by creating a culture that isn’t in alignment with His Kingdom. Being disempowered pulls them back into an orphan mentality.
Double-Mindedness – Disempowerment can throw a person into double-mindedness. They want to honor it, but it doesn’t feel right. They talk their mind out of their emotions and their emotions out of their mind. It creates a cycle that is so inner focus that it consumes them. “I love them,” “I can’t understand why they don’t believe in me,” “I see how powerful they are,” “What’s wrong with me?” They have a very hard time reconciling their mind and heart because they are both screaming two different things. The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. It is hard for someone to be confident and full of courage when your mind and heart are not in alignment with each other.
Covering – Disempowering someone puts the wrong kingdom covering over that child/person. The nature of empowerment is authority. When someone (falsely) takes it from you, it leaves you vulnerable to the enemy because it is by Christ’s work on the Cross that we are all empowered with authority to walk who He has called us to be.
Stunts Growth – Being disempowerment removes the protective covering that allows for mistakes and messes while maturing. There is no learning curve and without it, children/people are crippled in making choices because they know they can’t do it perfectly so they shy away from trying.
Shame – Disempowerment isn’t God’s tool so it will never make sense to the human mind and heart, but they attempt to reconcile the question “what is wrong with me?” (when in fact, there is nothing wrong with them). Some can spend a lifetime attempting to answer this question.
Introspection – Disempowerment hands the person a mirror and forces them to be critical of themselves, not knowing where they went wrong or how to make it better. An awkward awareness of self follows you around unsure if you will make the same mistake again with others, yet you aren’t fully aware of what mistake you made in the first place.
Rejection – The greatest form of rejection is when someone dismisses the gifts inside of you because it is the very reason why you were created.
Idol – Disempowerment puts the focus on the one in authority in an idol state and is always unhealthy for all parties. It makes their stamp of approval the goal rather than what God is doing and saying in that person’s life. The more it is withheld, the more the person craves it, and the idol grows. It is a vicious cycle and trap of the enemy to get one’s eyes off Jesus. Idol worship is empty and lacks the ability to produce fruit.
Judgement – I found this part very interesting. When there is idol worship there will be a lack of peace. The enemy often hands a person the tool of judgment to fight it off with. I have seen this countless times as people have battled disempowerment and then become seduced with judgment. Their minds try hard to slap it back into honor and love, but eventually, they give away and push back the disempowerment with judgment. The very person they so deeply wanted to know who believed in them suddenly becomes the worst person on earth, and judgments are made about who they are, their intentions, and credibility. This is so sad because they move from being disempowered to judgmental, which continues to hinder them.
You can’t steward the position of disempowerment well enough because it is not your identity or God-given place. There is only ONE way out of disempowerment. Forgiveness. Forgive the parent/leader who told you they didn’t believe in you, who didn’t value your gifts, and who didn’t find you worth investing in. For many, there is great grief and sadness as the person in authority is generally someone you care a great deal about (parent/leader). Give your heart a voice in walking this out and allowing God to restore your authority!