Agency: the Power of Blessings and Boundaries
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Do you know any agents? Real estate agents? FBI agents? Gate agents?
Agents represent. They hold the power of an entity, accurately and responsibly representing it. Realtors represent the interests of owners. FBI agents represent the interests of the United States government. Gate agents represent airlines. We are God’s agents.
We’ve been talking about power. Imaging God in our power means embodying love in our place–it means recognizing our agency as God’s daughters and living it out in our daily lives.
Being made in God’s image means that we are God’s “tselem,” marking the borders of God’s kingdom, representing God in the space where we live. This God-given power, meant to be an embodiment of the love of God, can be vastly distorted by fear…it can twist into aggressive independence or it can diminish toward folded-in-on-itself codependence, so that we no longer accurately or responsibly represent God.
What is a practice that can lead us home from these distortions? How do we allow our power to be healed, reconnected to the loving, active life of God? A way to recalibrate our power is by tending to our agency.
Jesus is our fullest picture of human agency, because he was an image bearer unhindered by sin. In his full humanity, he lovingly brought healing and challenge in word and deed. In his full humanity, he lovingly recognized his own limits and did not force outcomes on others.
As we follow Jesus, we can be intentional about practicing healthy agency in a few simple ways (although the doing is never quite so simple!)
First, healthy agency honors human dignity by practicing blessing. Diane Langberg says that humans have word power and deed power. Like Jesus, we can bring challenge and healing through our words and our deeds. We can bless the world, advancing love, by what we say and by what we do. How can you be an agent of blessing in word today? What about in deed?
Second, healthy agency honors human limits by practicing boundaries. A person who knows their right-sized human power has reckoned with the reality that they are not God. Human overreach–getting into someone else's sacred space with an agenda, even in the name of “good”–is a violation of godly, loving agency. We can honor the dignity of others by being aware of our own limits and stopping when we encounter our own borders. Today, how can you honor your God-given limits in word or deed? Can you allow another person the option of having a voice or taking action?
Your power is beautiful, and it is yours alone. If you do not own the words and deeds that can bless your world today, no one else will. Conversely, if your words and deeds take up spaces that are not yours, someone else’s beautiful power will have been diminished. Godly human power is strong but vulnerable. It is hopeful yet realistic. It is brave and it is surrendered. It knows that it is an agent, and it respects the limits and the dignity of that agency.
When have you felt most connected to your godly agency in recent weeks or months? Was there a time when your words or deeds were able to bring a unique blessing to a situation? What was that like?
Also, was there a recent time when you honored the boundaries of your own life, allowing others a chance to take up the space God meant for them to inhabit? What was that experience like?
Consider how Jesus talked to his disciples about their agency in Matthew 10. What stands out to you? Is there anything surprising about the blessing Jesus speaks of or about the boundaries that he encourages?
We’d love to have you join us for our summer book club! We are reading The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper. And, it’s not too late to join us for our summer contemplative circle, Let Your Life Speak!
The Kaleid Team
P.S. We told you a few weeks ago that we love Diane Langberg’s reflections on power. This Trinity Forum podcast is a great introduction to her and her work.