Good morning, I’m Chaplain Michael Jaques, a chaplain in the US Army Reserve and at the VA.
In our last blog we discussed the stages of power development…and how so many people get stuck in stage three. As a reminder, the third stage is when you begin to have the ability assert yourself over others. This could be in a debating match or a sporting event.
We learned, too, that one of the ways that people can fulfill this need for power is through their ability to help others. So, for those in the helping professions, such as social workers, nurses, doctors, pastors, they have found that they are often able to help those in need. The difficulty comes when they are unable to “fix” a particular situation—then they feel powerless. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you refine your skills, there will always be instances when you feel powerless.
One of the things that leads to getting stuck and not moving on to stage four is a desire to be all-powerful or even godlike. One person described this struggle affirming that “You give yourself glory when you get it right and over inflate your self-view too easily.” “You also have a tendency to feel proud when we are able to fix it and powerless when you cannot.” It is in your pride, that you want to have the ability to make it go your way.
Another person described this desire to be all-powerful as “Likely a skewed form of empowerment from God to assist him in caring for the creation.” This person confessed that at times he experienced a lack of faith that God could or would fix the situation.
On the other hand, one of the marks of people who are able to get unstuck, and move on to stage four, is that they are starkly aware of their finiteness and know intimately not to take the responsibility for other people’s issues. They are okay feeling powerless in some situations and are okay with God being the one with the power…trusting him to intervene or not.