Have you ever been so angry at yourself for your shortcomings that you could not get over yourself enough to overcome the problem you were faced with until you hit a breaking point? I have found myself frequently in that place over the last few years.
All summer my son was asking to go for a ride in Ben’s car. At the start of August my girls had a day camp for a week. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for some time with my sweet boy. Not surprisingly, the battery was dead, as I frequently forget to drive it so it doesn’t die.
Since it is a reoccurring problem, I own a portable jumper box. I like to be able to take care of this problem without having to rely on others! Of course I had locked the jumper box in the trunk of the car. Getting it out was impossible, so I decided to be a big girl and jump it with my Suburban. I opened the hood and had no idea where to put those black and red things without a visible battery. So I slammed the hood shut in a huff.
I was angry at myself for so many reasons. But most of all I was frustrated that even after five years, I still get upset about handling things I do not think should be my problem!
Reaching That Breaking Point
I literally thought about the car in self-pity for about two weeks. I refused to ask for help and got angry at myself for not having what I needed to fix it on my own. Because while I try to be independent and self-sufficient, there are times when grief overwhelms. I did not plan to live this life. And I did not want to carry this weight alone.
Then one Sunday a friend attempted to jump it with my Suburban for me and told me I needed to just replace the battery (AGAIN). Still annoyed, I said I would get around to it.
That Tuesday night when I pulled into pick up the kids from class, my Suburban died in the parking lot. Despite several attempts, I could not get it to start. A nice gentlemen offered to jump it for me. And the next day a friend sent their husband to jump it again so I could take it to get replaced.
Y’all there is just something powerful about when I reach a breaking point and my frustration turns to stubbornness. While waiting for my friend’s husband to jump the Suburban again, I went into the garage and tore that dead battery out of the Corvette to take with me. I drove to Walmart and made them exchange it (while leaving the Suburban running). Then the kids and I drove to AutoZone where I insisted on watching the worker change the Suburban battery. I wanted to know exactly how everything works.
After that, the kids and I drove home. I hooked up the battery in the Vette; and spent an hour patting myself on the back for accomplishing something I should not have had to do.
Is Empowerment Wrong?
I have always thought of the word empowerment as being synonymous with being a control freak. And while I have always loved being in control, I have tried desperately to avoid having that label put on me by others. But my views of a lot of things have changed since losing Ben. They have especially changed since having to take on learning things that I still have no desire to know.
And in the last few months since that empowering day, I have heard countless people recount tales of friends (especially widows and single parents) who have had to embrace challenges to overcome something they never wanted to do. And the sense of accomplishment felt by the overcomer in each of those situations is something to behold!
His Power is Perfect in Weakness…
2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I would like to say that I learned a lesson from that experience and embrace every challenge as it comes. But I would be lying. I spent the last week looking at our Christmas tree on the top shelf of the garage before finally psyching myself up enough to acknowledge that as long as everyone stood clear I could probably get it down on my own 😉. Don’t worry, I did not get a big head from that achievement. This afternoon I replaced the door handle I knocked off when something went flying off a garage shelf. And, of course, I need to jump that dead Vette battery again. Nothing like balance to remind me I’m still human. 😉
Do you ever have those moments when you feel empowered and need to be reminded that you can do hard things? What was your shining moment? Feel free to share in the comments!