I think I get my greatest joy in life when I see people achieve dreams that they never thought would be possible. Mental Illness, and disability in general, often robs people of opportunities.
Just because a person has depression, schizophrenia, addictions etc does this mean they are any less a person with dreams and hopes. People may treat you different, that you are incapable, that you need to wrapped in cotton wool or protected.
What joy there is to see some one believed in, encouraged and empowered to stretch out and try a new challenge. Something that others would never have dreamed of them being able to do.
One my greatest adventures in this was when I was a Chaplain in ministry with people with Major Mental illnesses. I asked for volunteers to preach through the Beatitudes.
After I got my budding preachers together, I asked them which beatitude they would like to tackle. I then gave them some reading material about the particular beatitude.
Over the next month I worked on their sermon with them. After many drafts, listening and challenging them, the sermons were ready for delivery.
You can read some of them here.
What happened was amazing.
When they spoke, people listened. Here were people just like themselves giving it a go. The stories that were told were stories those listening knew all too well.
When the gambling addict spoke of his struggle with an addiction and being a peacemaker to those he offended, people listened to his heart.
When a sermon was given about feeling In-valid, being on an Invalids Benefit and how it made him feel 2nd class, people nodded and knew exactly what he was saying.
None of these people would have been given the opportunity to preach anywhere else, yet here their dreams were realised. An incredible sense of self worth flooded their souls. They, and others, talked about it for months.
What does it take to empower others?
Some risk taking and having a vision that looks beyond the supposed presenting problem to a potential released.
The beauty of empowering others is that your own power is not diminished in the process. Barbara Colorose
Empowering leaders tend to be very self-aware. Their intent is to use their skills to serve and benefit others. Jeremie Kubicek
To empower is to enable someone else to accomplish something. It is a transfer of authority. Jeremie Kubicek
Questions to Consider and leave a comment
- How does stigma, both self stigmatisation and others stigmatisation, affect people developing roles in Church life?
- What stops people from empowering others?
- How can you encourage others with their dreams?
- Would you like to write a Guest Post for me? Send me your ideas.
Photo Credit: mikebaird via Compfight cc