Friday, January 21, 2011

The Illusion of Power

When I was in high school I became a bit feminist.  Well, as feminist as a Mormon girl from Utah gets, anyway.  I hated chauvinistic jokes, but loved reverse chauvinism wherein women look intelligent, sophisticated and superior while the men in the jokes looked like apes.  (BTW, being a mother of sons has made me hate those kinds of jokes, too.)

I memorized all the words to "I Am Woman Here Me Roar" and would burst into song whenever it seemed the conversation was chauvinistic.  (My male friends in high school would let me finish the song and then, in their highest falsetto, meow.  Oooooo, that made me so mad. And they thought it was so funny.)

I was all about Women Power, Mother Power or whatever else that could associate me with Power. (Insert muscle flexing here.) I liked to feel powerful, smart and in control.  I liked to feel that I could control myself and my family.  I remember as a young adult, seeing kids misbehaving in a store and thinking, "My children will NEVER do that."

As a young mother, I started to realize that this power-thing, this idea of controlling everything, was an illusion.  I felt like I couldn't control anything.  Sometimes it just felt like life was happening and I was trying to react to each situation.

Over time, as the kids got older, I've had a sense of power come back.  That I'm-in-control-of-my-own-destiny sensation. And in that mind set, I've often not understood scriptures like Mosiah 4:11 where King Benjamin taught that we need to "always retain in remembrance...your own unworthy creatures."  I'm mean how does that jive with "I am a child of God and He has sent me here"?

If God knows and loves me individually, then how am I nothing?  Or if I am nothing, then how can God care about me?

I think the answer to this paradox is found in Alma 26:12.
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (emphasis added)
I, of myself, am powerless.  I have, at best, the power of one ordinary person.  But when I link myself with God by following His Spirit, then he gives me His power to accomplish everything that He wants me to.  Would he do this if he didn't know me and love me?  Of course not.  It is because He is my Father and knows and loves me perfectly that He wants me to be aware that I need Him today, tomorrow and every step of the way through my life.

Do I have power?  Nope.  No woman power.  No mother power.  Nothing.  But when I link myself with God by seeking and following His will, do I have power?  I do.  It's still not mine, but I am satisfied that God trusts me enough to give me "his strength" so that "I can do all [the] things" that He wants me to do.


Lbrtychic said...

Jenna, I LOVE this. Thank you so much. It's been one of those times in my life where I feel like I have no power. My son has been sick for 10 days and I have been to the Dr. twice and I don't feel like we are getting anywhere. Anyways, I was feeling powerless and this is an answer to my prayers. Thank you.

HARA said...

That is my all time favorite scripture. I love the concept of linking ourselves with God to gain power. This is a a great post and very humbling for me. I needed it. Thanks Shahara