Stop reading and think back to the last three times someone gave you permission to do something you wanted to do.
Now which kind of permission was it?
There is red hot permission like the relief pitcher coming in from the bull pen. He is not only “allowed” to pitch, but the whole team (and 10 million people on TV) are rooting for him to pitch magnificently, immensely, powerfully and to win big.
That is permission that believes in you.
Then there is coming into the cafeteria, seeing an empty seat at a table with some other people. You ask, “May I sit here?”
The answer is “Sure. All yours.” Even though the response is immediate, loud and unambiguous, it is quite clear that what they are saying is, “Sure. You are irrelevant. You won’t disturb me and my friends at all because we are talking about something wonderful and you are a non-entity.”
That is permission that actually makes you small while ostensibly making space for you.
So which of the two did you experience in your last three permissions?
Now think of Naomi in Moab.
An alien. A woman. A widow. Impoverished. A loser.
There were probably a lot of people who would give her permission to do a lot of things.
Back to Israel.
Probably a huge collective yawn. Didn’t even make for decent gossip on a very slow day.
“Whatever. Be free.”
All the permission she wanted.
BUT . . . Naomi knew that this kind of permission was unhealthy for someone who was gambling everything on one wild roll of the dice.
So she dismissed her two daughters-in-law with an utterly plausible permission. She had no sons. No reason for them to hang with her just for the sake of social propriety.
She gave them permission to leave.
Orpah snatched it up, since she was just tolerating Naomi.
Ruth announced she was ALL IN to the end.
Sheer genius on the part of Naomi to part ways with the one who was not passionate about her vision.
On the surface, Orpah was a compliant, helpful, daughter-in-law. In her heart, she was trapped by life and wished she had other options.
You just don’t want people around you who are wishing they were not around you — or that you were not around them!
So let’s talk about your dream now.
If you have a decent sized FAMILIAR dream, people will rally around and bet on you emotionally, at least lightly.
Go to university. Graduate 4.0. Job with an innovative corporation. Ride it to the IPO then take your share and do your own startup.
If you have an impossible dream of doing something no one has ever done before, expect a handful of dismissive permissions.
And few passionate ones.
And the reality is that dismissive permissions are somewhat toxic. Hanging around those people isn’t going to do your dream much good, even though they are not actively criticizing you.
They just suck the oxygen out of your passion, leaving a smoldering coal, instead of a raging fire.
So consider one of two things.
-Physically leaving that crowd.
-Or going silent on your dream, when you are around the dismissive permission givers.
“Non-believers” are toxic even when they are not actively spewing toxicity.
Look for at least two or three people who can believe in your dream, even if it is from a distance.
It really matters.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
I was REALLY hard pressed to think of 3 times I’ve recently asked for permission to do something... don’t know if that means I’m just bossy, or if it means that I simply don’t put myself out there often enough to do hard things. It’s probably a little of both, mixed with a hybrid of other things I’ve yet to identify.
Having to cull team relationships like Naomi had to do stinks, even though there is an undeniable peace in the process. I’ve been the culled, and I’ve been the culler. My husband and I have been in a long-simmer season of preparation for something, and this article is a laser sharp encouragement to continue evaluating between the Orpah’s and Ruth’s in our lives.
Thanks for the permission!
This is really thought provoking. Thank you for writing it!
The toxicity of dismissive permission of dreams really does take a toll. This post legitimizes the value of my long distance connections as well. Your post hits key points of ambiguity in my life and brings clarity.
woke up three mornings with song " you've got to have a dream , if you don't jave a dream how you gonna have a dream come true" and have been walking through making all of these difficult decisions concerning relationships. Blessings Arthur for so many times functioning as a confirmer in our transition times...from a fellow pioneer.
Tony Hsieh, a brilliant entrepreneur (best known for Zappos) tragically died this week. Jewel, the singer, wrote him a letter, after seeing him in a self-destructive downward cycle. Turns out that he got rid of the friends who *wouldn't* give him permission to destroy himself and paid (literally) people who would hang around him and give him permission to do whatever he wanted.
What a great example of permission Arthur. We have to not only be mindful of who gives us dismissive permission, but also mindful of people pushing away people who won't give us permission to quit on our dreams, when they know those dreams are central to our calling and kingdom-purpose.
I’ve been dealing with shame and identity lately. This was helpful.
Mary at Jesus’s feet totally dismissive of all but him is where I want to be. BUT how we do need folk alongside saying Amen. So be it. With us and for us and to us.
It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living god
So god help us in it al. To believe that in him we live and move and have our being. Amen.
I’ve had a picture of myself being a little cell in the left shoulder of Jesus. The body of Christ. Koinonia was a term used in early church days. It would be good to dissect this word a bit and apply it to ourselves effectively.
I always appreciate hearing from you.
We messy in between people have value too! We are not all Barbara Streisands!
Replied by : Arthur Burk
Wow, very insightful and explains a lot about how I’ve felt in certain situations. Thanks for this. I will definitely pay attention and remain silent when around half-hearted permission givers from now on. Hope to find those few who can believe in my dream.
I have been chewing on this very thought the last couple weeks. Thanks