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Empowerment Blog

ᑕᑌᒪTᑌᖇE ᔕᕼIᖴT

"It's not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities." (Kristin Armstrong) You have probably heard me talk about how I often feel like I am living in a parallel universe. The different areas of my life seem to mimic each other. Whether it is the situations that occur or the behaviors of the people I engage, when I stop and reflect, the underlying themes are the same. I was up in the wee hours of the morning when God explained to me the resistance I have been feeling. He impressed upon my heart that my way of being is now running counterculture to present norms in my life. Counterculture is a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm. It was as if a lightbulb came on. This explained a lot to me. When you are trying to exist and operate in alignment with purpose, your environment's cooperation is a requirement. Have you ever noticed when you begin to make better choices for yourself, the people around you seem to act differently? They are not acting differently; you are. When it looks like everyone else is making it work in the cultures you are in, and you feel like you are the odd man in the bunch; it is because your awareness is causing you to live counter to the existing culture. "Culture is the set of values, norms, guiding beliefs, and understandings shared by members of an organization [and people groups] and taught to new members as the correct way to think, feel, and behave. It is unwritten, feeling part of the organization [or group]." (Daft)

The Shift


Unknowingly in the past, I allowed comfort and convenience to make me believe that the way people engaged in the circles I occupied needed to change so that I could effectively operate in my purpose. Survival mode, which protects you from discomfort and harm, tricks you into believing it's "them" and not you, who need to change. The other thing that God impressed upon my heart is that I am the one who needs to make a shift, a culture shift. To shift is to exchange or replace with another. It also means to change position or direction. "We believe that culture is key to preventing incidents and injuries." (Cora Carmody) As I sat and contemplated what I was hearing, I began to understand what God wanted me to see. There are some cultures where you will be able to affect change within the culture, and then there are cultures you will need to influence from the outside. If the culture is firmly embedded in a place, there will be tremendous resistance to necessary change.

Biblical Insight


A perfect example of this can be found in the Bible, of course. There was a day when Jesus was speaking, and the people marveled at His teaching; but, because He was not one of their religious leaders and they knew His family, they dismissed what He had to say. (Matthew 13:58) Familiarity is often a significant hindrance when trying to affect an existing culture, especially with families. When your family and friends "knew you when," it is difficult for them to see you for who you are now. Another time is when religious leaders questioned Jesus regarding His disciples' failure to do the required ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus attempted to disrupt their thinking and influence change by discussing essential matters. Ultimately, He ended the encounter declaring, "The traditions of men make the word of God, ineffective." (Mark7:13) "Everyone participates in culture, but culture generally goes unnoticed." (Daft) Culture can kill necessary changes.

Get Ready To Rumble


"Social capital refers to the quality of interactions among people and whether they share a common perspective. ... relationships are based on trust, mutual understandings, and shared common norms and values that enable people to cooperate and coordinate their activities to achieve goals." (Daft) You should always be developing the social capital you need to affect change in your circles of influence. There is a mandate on your life to answer your calling, which is God's will for you. If you are like me, the uncomfortableness you have been feeling has been by design. It is God nudging you to the edge of your comfort zone and whispering in your ear, "It's time to take a leap of faith in the direction of your destiny!" Your needing to know everything that will happen before you leap is not faith. You will have to surrender and believe you are prepared to land in God's greatness. Your fight is not with "them." The battle has been with you all along. Additionally, you may have to influence change from the outside, and it will require a culture shift to do so. Your resignation is not your reconciliation that the culture cannot change, but you realize that being an outside demonstration of effectiveness may be more beneficial. You cannot love culture more than you love people because when it is no longer sufficient, you will continue to prop it up at the expense of the people.


Your work will always include helping others. The next time you want to grumble at your situation and even the behavior of others, stop and consider the beliefs that influence their mindsets. You will probably see it as you running counterculture, and instead of merely resisting, YOU may need to reposition yourself mentally and sometimes physically. Make sure your next steps align with your non-negotiables and priorities so you can keep doing your work. Consider this; your deliverance will come when you are willing to shift to a culture that values who you are, compliments your purpose, and leads you into a more enriched, fulfilling life. Make the shift!

Until next time... Be empowered!



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