Learned Helplessness is a real psychological condition that scientist have explored for generations.
In Psychology Today Joachim I Krueger Ph. D. speaks to this issue.T
The concept of learned helplessness is among the most recognizable in psychology. Coming out of animal labs at the University of Pennsylvania during the 1960s, learned helplessness soon became a model for human depression. One of the behavioral hallmarks of depression is that the afflicted have ceased to explore their world. Some do very little of anything, or what they do is limited to routine tasks. That itself can only be depressing and it thus has a self-reinforcing quality. The key idea underlying learned helplessness is that the afflicted have lost a sense of control over what happens to them and around them. They no longer see a contingency between their behavior and rewards. No matter what I do, they may think, nothing good happens to me…
If we take-a-look at Jesus’ interactions with those who came to him asking for a miracle we see that in many of his miracles he didn’t just heal the afflicted on the spot. He asked something of them. For the man born blind, which is the sixth sign in John’s gospel, John 9:1-11, he told the blind man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. This man had never had sight. He’d had to rely on those around him for his entire life. He probably lived in a state of helplessness. Jesus chooses to send him on a journey through Jerusalem on a very busy day, when the streets would have been crowded. The blind man had to go through the maze of the inner city and down many steps to get to the pool. If I had been Jesus I would probably have healed the man right there. I would have wanted to be considerate of his affliction. But this wasn’t Jesus’ plan with this particular man. Why did Jesus send this man on a trip through the city to a remote pool when there were closer pools? Perhaps it was to put legs to the man’s faith. Perhaps it was to rebuke helplessness and restore dignity.
There are people we come across in our lives that suffer from a sense of helplessness. Maybe they have a debilitating disease, maybe they have lost their families, maybe they feel unemployable. People can become crippled by the feeling of helplessness in their lives, and it can become more debilitating than the original problem.
Jesus took notice of the man that others probably didn’t even see anymore, as he lived out his life in the margins of society. Don’t you know that the blind man’s self-esteem began to increase when he first heard Jesus’ voice directed at him. Those that suffer from the sense of helplessness need to realize their self-worth. Each of us are important to God, and he loves all equally. This is a message we can give to those we know who deal with self-worth issues. We are all precious in his sight. And Jesus gave him something challenging to do. Something doable, but not easy. Before we can see the miracle, we must be obedient and do what we can do-what we know to do, or the miracle just doesn’t happen.
This blind man listened to Jesus and made the steps of faith he needed to make, and Jesus restored him.
My take away from this miracle:
1) There really are no marginal people in God’s eyes. We are all broken and need Jesus’ masterful hand in our lives.
2) I need to look at and talk to the people around me that tend to get overlooked by society.
3) We can rebuke helplessness in our lives. First we do what we know, then we place our faith in Jesus.
4) All miracles depend on our yes to Jesus.
If you are experiencing feelings of helplessness, here is a link that can give you some natural advice for dealing with this issue. We must do the natural first, so here it is. Then trust God for a miracle in your life.