Saturday, July 30, 2016

What I Can Do, and What I Cannot Do

I was listening to an audio book by Henry Cloud called "Boundaries in Leadership" recently.  In the book he talks about how there are a number of people who grow up with a learned sense of "helplessness".  We usually, though not always, acquire it from one or both of our parents or caretakers.

Cloud states that those with a learned sense of "helplessness" often end up immobilized and unable to make decisions, even though they have the talents and the resources to do so.  Contrary to this sort of mindset is the one who has a different outlook.  This second sort of person is able to look at a given situation and say to himself or herself, "What am I able to do in this situation, and what am I not able to do?"  Once he or she determines what they can do - they do it.  They don't wallow in fear and anxiety over what they can't do, they simply get busy with what they can do.

A learned sense of "helplessness" isn't insurmountable.  Think about what can you do in a given situation.  What can't you do?  Set aside what you can't do and do what you can.  It is difficult to give up what we don't have control over and to simply do what we can, and for this reason we must ask God for our God-given desire to take a chance and do what we can.

Learning to choose to do what we can and leave alone what we can't isn't just for our own benefit.  This is one of the best things about marriage.  When we get into this mindset, we are choosing to do good to our spouse.  Wallowing in a sense of "helplessness" causes distress for our spouse, our kids, and our co-workers - but mostly our spouse.

When we choose to do what we can do during the day and not worry about how much we accomplish, it helps our spouse to be more relaxed.  This is why our God-given desire for psychological health is so loving.  It isn't just for us.  It's for them.  This is love, this is to God's design, credit, and glory.  It can be an amazing story.