About 10 years ago, I traveled to the Philippines with my friend and her 3-month-old son. They are the only people I know there. And my friend, who at the time struggles to speak English after only 4 years in the States, is my only translator. Without her I’m lost.
We travel to her home province, which is almost 2 hours away from Manilla, the capital and perhaps the one place where I can expect a good amount of the population to speak English. Her family speaks a little bit of English, but virtually no one else in the province speaks or understands much of what I say.
I am completely reliant on her to take care of me. I don’t know when others are talking about me. She orders my food, helps me shop at the store, and rents our car. She is my guide and mouthpiece. I just stand there, nod my head, and smile. She could have ordered me ground up pig snouts and ears for lunch and I wouldn’t know any better. (Actually, she does do that without my knowledge, but that’s a story for another day!)
It is a scary, uneasy feeling at first, but she’s my friend and I trust her. So I decided to let go and have a good time.
This past week in Higher Ground we talked about Step 1 of the 12 Steps in Christian Recovery. It reads:
“I admit I am powerless over the effects of my separation from God — that my life is unmanageable.”
The entire notion of admitting powerlessness is only meaningful when it rests on the recognition that you are utterly dependent on God in every aspect of your life… because within yourself there is no ability to do any good apart from Him.
Romans 7:18 says I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Like my dependence my Filipino friend while overseas, you are to be dependent on God for your survival and growth every single day. In life, the Lord takes you on a journey of transformation for which He alone is your guide and mouthpiece, for which He alone is responsible for the results.
To this point, living your life for your own accomplishments and insisting on your own will has likely caused an unnecessary amount of stress and pain. Your life is one big roller coaster. The ups and downs are nauseating. The bends and turns set off your vertigo. And somewhere between the sleeplessness and migraines you realize you have no other alternative but to admit you need Him and that you are powerless over what your life has become.
Admitting defeat is your only option. You must accept the reality of your condition. That to continue to over-spiritualize your salvation prevents you from recognizing what you truly need is transformation — a transformation that can only occur when you drop your disguises and stop making excuses for your behavior.
God remains in the business of miracles. Perhaps you can be His next. Admit you are powerless and trust Him.
Diera Shaw-Mendez is thrilled to be part of the team Barbara’s Place, and also serves as worship leader and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy and Sage Grace. She enjoys graphic design, event planning, and cooking. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to remind women of God’s unchanging, healing love.