We were on a ministry trip and my son could not shake his attitude. After days of it wearing us all down, I sent him to retire early that night. I heard him crying in his bed and went to him. He began to say, “Mom, I am so angry, but I don’t know why.” At that moment, I knew what was going on. A well-known Christian leader said earlier that day that they could barely sleep at night because of all of the anger in the church (over a particular issue). I led him through a prayer to take authority over the anger and to release the opposite (peace, unity, clarity), and instantly his little body shifted. If you have a child who can ‘flip like a switch’ out of nowhere, it could be that they are very sensitive to the atmospheres around them. I was this way as a child, and it brought about a lot of conflicts because no one, including myself, understood why I could be perfectly fine one moment and angry or filled with anxiety the next. In my mind, nothing was bothering me, but it was like something had come over me. Once I realized I was coming into an atmosphere of ‘stuff,’ I began to learn how to take authority over it and flip it.
- Atmospheres, Authority
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.
HeartWork – Declare over yourself that you are not an orphan but a child of God. Receive it as His truth. Ask God to teach you about your identity as a Son/Daughter and make the intentional choice to embrace it.
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.
HeartWork – Put your hand on your heart and declare out loud, “I am not crazy. I am not unloving. There is nothing wrong with me. I command my mind to align right now with the mind of Christ, in Jesus’ name.”
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.
HeartWork – Picture heavy football shoulder pads that were placed on you as a covering to keep you inoperable. Instead of trying to lift the heavy weight off, you just come from under it. Prophetically you might want to physically move your body out from under the weight of the wrong covering and align yourself with the covering of Jesus.
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.
HeartWork – Picture a measuring stick that was placed next to you and told you that you do not measure up. Ask Jesus what tool He wants you to use to break the measuring stick. Go ahead and do that with Him. Then ask Him to show you His measuring stick and ask Holy Spirit to convict you when you are returning to the old measuring stick of man.
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.
HeartWork – The greatest way to overcome shame is self-compassion. When I am feeling slimed by shame, I put my hand on my heart and say, “Lisa, I am right here. I am not leaving you. Let’s do this together.” I turn into a puddle of love because I am accepting myself. Ask yourself, “What do I need to hear?” and then speak it over yourself often.
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.
HeartWork – Go to the thrift store and buy a mirror. Place a tarp or sheet on the ground and smash the mirror, declaring that you no longer have the job of constantly staring in the mirror, wondering if and where you are wrong. Hand over the job to Jesus, and trust He can lead you. Years ago, God showed me a picture of Jesus and me dancing on the dance floor. He told me that it was His job to watch when I was too close to the edge, not mine. My job was to enjoy the dance with Him and trust He knows how to lead me.
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.
HeartWork – This may sound insensitive to some, and that is not my heart. We never figure out what God is doing by what we see the devil doing, but can we, just for a moment, laugh at how utterly hard the enemy tries to disqualify your voice and gifts? Why would he be so afraid and intimidated by what you carry inside of you? You may feel like a fragile baby bird, but the truth is you are made in the image of God, are related to Jesus Christ, and have the Holy Spirit of God inside of you. That makes you a force to be reckoned with, and it is time you start to see yourself the way your Creator sees you, not the way the enemy has tried to devour you.
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.
HeartWork – Picture yourself entangled in a ball of yarn wrapped all around you. The more you wiggle to get free, the more entangled you become. Ask Jesus to come with His scissors to cut you free from the spider web of pleasing man and the emptiness of not getting it. Step out from the pile of yarn, and do not re-wrap yourself back where Jesus has just cut you free.
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.
HeartWork – Forgive the parent/leader who told you they didn’t believe in you, who didn’t value your gifts, and didn’t find you worth investing in. For many, there is great grief and sadness as the person in authority is generally someone you cared a great deal about (parent/leader).
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!
Sometimes when it feels like all hell is breaking loose, it is because there is a part of hell that needs to be broken loose. This is not the time to endure; it is the time to rise up and fight with your spiritual authority and tools. This is the time to expose what the enemy is doing and bring it into the light.
P.S. Have you ever noticed that ‘all hell breaks loose’ at the wrong time? Like when you are trying to walk out the door, you are late for something, or in front of others? Yep. That is on purpose so that you will be too distracted or pressured to take the time to deal with it.
I used to have this cycle where events would tell me that I didn’t belong. I would work it out sometimes rather fast, but it took my time and energy. Cycles can be exhausting and wear you out. I began to see this as unfruitful and pressed in further with the Lord. While it was great I could work it out in my heart, I wasn’t so sure God wanted me to be on auto-repeat with the same situation.
As I asked the Lord, I heard the word ‘cattle prod.’ Growing up around Minnesota farms, I knew what a cattle prod was but felt an invitation from the Lord to study them further. WOW! A cattle prod’s purpose is never to kill or destroy the animal; it is to CONTROL them with the purpose of getting them to MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. I asked God to show me who gave the enemy the legal right to use this tool on me, and I saw my mom. My childhood was full of pain and heart splinters, causing me to move out for good when I was in the 8th grade. But the picture He showed me was when I still lived with my family. Surprised by the time frame, God showed me that my mom would often make comments about me not belonging, or she would say, “Maybe you need to live elsewhere.” This taught me, long before I was removed from the home for good, that I didn’t belong in the circle. So fast forward to adulthood when circumstances gave me the message I didn’t belong; it was like a cattle prod in my side. It would get my attention, and I would stop doing what I was doing and spend time unpacking the hurt and lies. I always found the truth and peace again, but once I realized the root of where this was coming from, I forgave my mom for teaching me I didn’t belong and declared that tool no longer effective. I saw Jesus come to a herd of cows (and had the sense I was one of them). When He scooped me up, I morphed into a little lamb snuggled in His arms. He carried me away from the dirt and manure and brought me to the grassy field. But when He set me down, I immediately tried to run back to the herd. Why in the world would I do that if He just reduced me? He said, “Because it is familiar. You believe you are a heifer, but you are My sheep. The cattle prod is used on those who do not know who they are (identity). It is My job to keep you in the pasture, but I do not use a cattle prod to control you; I use My staff to lead you.”
The irony of the cattle prod is that it always seemed to happen right before something big in my life, and it caused me to not only stop but move in the opposite direction. Hmmm.
HeartWork – Do you have an area of your life where you feel like you get cattle prodded out of the blue, and it takes you days or weeks to find your footing again? Ask Jesus to show you what He wants you to see. Maybe this isn’t so much about you but about the enemy using past experiences to shock you into old cycles. Ask Holy Spirit to bring healing to the area you keep getting poked in and for Him to break the power of the cattle prod. You are not a heifer. You are His sheep!
A dad approached me and asked for help with his teen daughter, who was saying really mean things to him, like, “I hate you,” “You are fat,” “No one likes you.” I asked what the consequences were for a child to speak to an adult like that, and there were none other than letting her know his heart was hurt. I encouraged him to learn how to speak firmly but lovingly to draw a line in the sand with her. NO CHILD FEELS GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES speaking to their father that way. He is indirectly teaching her that this is how you treat men, your boss, and those in authority. While her behavior may appear strong, she is actually feeling insecure. A week later, he told me the glorious story of how he lovingly but firmly told her that he would no longer tolerate those words, and she pushed back by accusing him of something he did not do. He was firm in speaking the truth to her, and freedom came to her heart. He laughed, telling me how easy and light the relationship had been since then. When the dad got back in his proper place of authority and covering, the LIE in her heart was able to come out. Together they dealt with it, and connection and peace reigned again. Fearing our children is not in our job description. They do not set the tone in the home, parents do.
A friend messaged me this: “Last night, our son (age 6), who can feel things in the atmosphere, said he felt scared and didn’t know why. His father explained that other people are afraid of something he doesn’t need to be afraid of. This would normally result in many discussions. But last night, he said, ‘Oh, okay. Can I talk to Jesus about it?’ To which the answer was, ‘Of course, bud!’ He got quiet, the room shifted, and he fell asleep! Yay, Jesus!”
IF A SIX-YEAR-OLD IS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TALK TO JESUS ABOUT FEELING SCARED, WHAT’S OUR EXCUSE? There is a KEY in this testimony. He felt it, talked to Jesus about it, and rested. It’s okay to feel, but we must bring it to Jesus for the rest to come.
A great tool for teaching children their authority is to take a spray bottle and catch them off guard by spraying them. Teach them that, like a sneeze, we are always releasing something into the atmosphere. When we throw a tantrum at the store, we aren’t just doing that to Mom but to everyone around us. When we hit our siblings, we are releasing that into the atmosphere. When you are kind, that gets released, too. As you teach, keep surprising them with sudden sprays that fall onto their skin. We release those things into the atmosphere when we release God’s love, respect, honor, kindness, joy, etc. Which one do they want to release? Since my kids have a grid for this now, all I have to say is, “Hey guys, what do you think just got released into the atmosphere?”
Now practice it in the days to come. Before going into a store, ask everyone how they are feeling. I call it “check your gut.” After being in the store for ten minutes, ask the kids how their gut feels now. Oftentimes a child will say, “uncomfortable,” “afraid,” or “not okay.” This is their way of saying something is going on in the atmosphere around them. Teach them it is not coming from IN them, but around them. Someone else ‘sprayed’ that into the atmosphere. We can grow in asking God what He wants us to do.
We can teach children to take the spiritual temperature of a room and then release the opposite. There is power in the name of Jesus that shifts things in the atmosphere everywhere we go!!
American friends, the Dollar Store has some great costumes of armor, swords, police uniforms, and badges that go great with teaching children about Ephesians 6:10-18, using their authority, and being victorious over lies. They also have a plastic set of chains that are great for teaching them how hurts, lies, and offenses chain our hearts and how God wants us to be FREE!
Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff!
I share more about the police badge teaching and authority in this video. Watch it with your children. Teaching Children Their Authority – YouTube
God has given us authority over anything that is out of alignment with the heavens, such as fear, strife, unbelief, anger, anxiety, or doubt. If it is not in heaven, you have authority over it. Rise up, speak to the anger, fear, and unbelief, and say, “NO MORE.” Break up with those nagging thoughts that are like flies swarming around us when we are worn out, tired, or weary. You don’t have to put up with them – deal with them. My bathroom mirror reads, “Stop the nonsense,” meaning I do not cross the mental line and partner with those words. I live by faith, not circumstances.
When my kids come home with stories about how someone was unkind, rude, or disrespectful, we walk through forgiveness and then release the opposite back to them in the spiritual realm. You can’t be a victim when you are partnering with the Creator of the universe.
Homework – Call a family meeting and ask your children what would happen if you walked into the middle of a busy street and held up your hand. Nothing would probably happen. Next, ask what would happen if a police officer walked in the middle of a busy street and put up his hand. Because of his badge, he has authority. Not only that, but all of the courts back him up. We get to be police officers in the spiritual realm because of the badge of Jesus, and all of heaven backs us up. We get to tie up the bad and then unleash all the good stuff.