There are a variety of instances where we need to ask permission for certain things. From the simple “may I be excused?” when asking parents to get up from the dinner table… to asking your boss to leave the office early…to asking your her parents for their permission to marry their daughter. Permission is when you have a goal, a future idea, and you are wanting some room to accomplish whatever it is that you have your heart set on. There is someone higher up the food chain that needs to ‘allow’ you the space to do what it is you are working towards. Once the blessing has been given, the only obstacle in carrying out the mission is oneself.
Often, when counseling with people, we will discuss whatever the ‘issue‘ is – usually something involving family or job or kids. There will inevitably come a moment when they have shared and I have offered an opinion on what the next step is…usually something about boundaries or communicating, and they will ask “can I do that?” or “am I allowed to do that?” It always seems a bit odd to me that they feel they need permission to take healthy action. They have taken the time to identify the problem, listened to what is hopefully good advice, and now it is the time to take action – and they hesitate. And one of the following comments will come: “but I’m not sure I can do that, I mean, its my mom“… or “if I stand up to my boss, I’ll get fired” …or “I’m not sure I can put down that line with my kid.” In my experience I find that we have created an environment of guilt and obstacle and now the simplest decisions are fraught with many many many questions, hesitations and defenses. The new mother who wants to make a decision about her new baby, but has her own mother overruling her decisions, saying that she should do this or that. The new mother, who already feels like she is failing, then comes and asks what she should do. I ask a simple question…”Well who’s baby is this?” And the answer is simple too… “mine“…and then the encouragement…”well, you should do what YOU feel is best, and nod and smile at your mom’s advice and then simply do what you feel you need to.” Suddenly, it is as if I have reached for a kitchen knife and stabbed it directly into her mother’s heart… and the inevitable defenses, excuses, and reasons why it would be easier to simply follow whatever mommy-dearest said, seems an easier approach. But ultimately is not what new mother really wants to do.
The problem is easy – we have been trained not to make decisions and when we eventually do, we are trained to second guess those decisions and defend them. It is a good day when people realize that they do not need to defend every healthy decision they have made…sometimes “that is what I have chosen to do” is a good enough response. Some will not like it, some feel entitled to explanations, but it doesn’t really matter what they think.
Why are we waiting for permission to be ourselves? Why are we so non-committal about EVERYTHING? Why do we go from person to person, until we get the response we want, and often have a result that we complain about? Just make a decision people! YOU DON’T NEED PERMISSION TO BE YOU! God has made you wonderfully and yes, somewhat fearfully, but he made YOU. You will make some good choices, and some bad ones, but they are YOURS… no one has to live with the outcome other than you.
Be yourself. Stop allowing others to dictate your life or your decisions. You have God’s permission (and mine) to be yourself. Make it the best self you can.