Are You Missing A Permission?

I have been working intermittently with someone who has a huge amount of wholeness, follows directions impeccably, but simply has very little initiative in life.

We have talked through the fact that slaves obey and sons create, but there has been no movement.  Seems to be more than a spirit of slavery.

Today I realized that she came out of a home and a religious stream that withheld permissions.  Specifically, her father absolutely dominated every facet of the home.  He did the grocery shopping, defined the food they ate, determined who their friends were, what they did for holidays and everything else in between.

Her mother was compliant and executed as directed.  She had no permission to be a person, much less a woman or a wife.

The religious stream “Sally” went into was equally as repressive, with the leader having all permission, and any initiative on the part of the people being deemed rebellion or an independent spirit.

I asked Father to come to Sally’s spirit and to give her the appropriate permissions to be who she was made to be at this point in her life.  There was a very tender moment.

I pondered that for a while.  Sally’s father was extreme in his predatory, smothering control.  BUT, almost every spouse and every parent has denied permission to someone.  It might be worth your time to look at that picture.

As I looked at my childhood, the biggest withholding of permission from Dad was permission to risk in relationships.  We could risk with tarantulas, snakes, and sting rays, but people were deemed horrendously dangerous and we were to walk very conservatively in regards to our associates.

I am not sure where it happened, but somewhere along the way I was given (or took!) permission to associate with rabble, road kill and assorted dangerous bipeds.  I might be better off with a tad bit of Dad’s caution these days, but the horse is out of the barn on this issue.

I looked at Mom.  Couldn’t find a single area where she withheld a permission that would be useful for me as an adult.  All of the withholdings were quite useful for keeping this black sheep alive during a turbulent childhood.

Then I looked at their marriage.  Dad DEFINITELY withheld permission for Mom to have her own theological ideas.  He was the sole arbiter of theological orthodoxy for his entire family.  On that one, I distinctly remember when and where God gave me permission to be my own man in terms of my beliefs.

Then I looked at Mom and permissions given to Dad.  I hit a black hole there.  I couldn’t think of any single permission that she could have given him!  Not sure what that means.

Anyway, it was a worthwhile exercise for me, just to see how nuanced permissions could be.  Dad might have been considered guilty of child endangering for all of the permissions he gave us to work with power tools and to roam the jungle and the river with all of its pests.  He was a highly permissive father in that regard, but in one other niche, not so much.

For those of you coaching people on a journey, you might add this to your tool box and see if you can easily release some people who are still walking in the shadow of parental lack of permission.

Copyright June 2017 by Arthur Burk



  1. Patricia Horgan says helpful — Thank you.
    My mother’s redemptive gift was Servant – but her family had actually been servants for generations – like ‘downstairs’ in Downton Abbey – they are English – my grandmother was the cook in a rich household in London.
    The British class/caste system is strong.
    I had a real reaction to your word. I realised that I did not feel that I have permission to succeed above my class, and that has held me back in many ways.
    Jesus himself was treated as inferior – by Romans and some Pharisees, e.g Simon who did not offer to let Jesus have his feet washed. However, Jesus knew who He was in relationship to His Father – and that made all the difference.


  2. says’ve had this blog post open for a week, but didn’t read it until this morning. Last night I had 2 dreams that were almost identical, except the second emphasized the words. I was standing in the yard of a private school I attended for 3rd through 6th grades. The Lord had recently shown me that this was where my striving began, trying so hard to succeed and coming to believe that my best was not good enough. I’ve been renewing my mind with the concept that I have nothing to prove to anyone.
    So dreaming that men with clipboards were standing around and telling me that I needed the right permit and the right license to do what I wanted to do sent me right to this blog post this morning. I visited the school yard this morning and taken back the permission that was taken from me, cutting all ties, etc. I love the way the Lord reveals and how identity is always forming and reforming. He’s a good Father.
    I’m looking forward to see the difference this makes in my life, and how I can bring it into the lives of the women I coach and speak to. Permission granted, the Father says!


  3. Becky Dymond says

    I was working with a woman yesterday who has forever struggled to be able to receive. We have addressed all kinds of esoteric possibilities, turned over every rock I can think of… But in working through an identified barrier yesterday, this blog post came to mind. Oh!!! Brilliant!! It made all kinds of sense!! I’ll let you know if she crossed the Rubicon – but it sure looks promising at this point.


  4. Valerie Simonds says

    Thanks Arthur, this was so helpful for me. I could walk through may scenarios not only in my own background but with me and my children and David where I needed to release them and give them permission to be everything God has for them.


  5. Sue says

    Ex: a couple came to our Saturday intercession who is connected to our church. One of the pastors suggested we pray for them and to release the prophetic if so led. It dawned on me that I wouldn’t have even gone there if I hadn’t heard that it would be permissible to do so. At times I am simply so disconnected…


  6. frieda says

    good , good stuff ….very practical to use !! will defenitely look into my life !!and …into our marriage and education of our kids !!!!! thank you !


  7. Annali Schutte says

    This surely struck a deep note / sound in my heart…

    How to fight for your own freedom, when you realise how severly bound you are by things like this.

    I have received the most exhilirating business idea ever from the Lord, that would actually minister to a whole city and when I had to step up to the occation – I completely faded, because at that time, my spouse was actually falling ill due to stress and any family member that I (rather unwisely) shared my vision, passion and ideas with, looked at me in disgust as if they wanted to say: “how dare you, a pregnant, resigned teacher and mere homeschooling housewife, venture into The Business World with a ministry-agenda and the aim of changing/redeeming the culture?”

    In my shame, I have to admit that I also started to question God’s “obviously very untimely idea and strange HR department” and I just crawled into a corner and stayed there. My spirit forced my soul and body to go and share my idea with a big spirited leader in the business world – hoping in vain for “the permission” from him to be allowed to be the catalyst for those who would be the fore runners in the project…with no permission given…

    But I should definitely stop trying to find permission from other people and start receiving it from God Himself.

    I am still almost too shy to even start talking about the whole subject to Him and I am so afraid that I lost this part of my birthright through this episode and I want to go nuts with all the ideas with regard to “the business idea” that still keeps pouring in like a song that needs to be played up to the end, even though there is no audience to enjoy it.

    I guess I first need permission to fail as well – it is only that I also received a Scripture stating that if I would have been obedient, my “descendants” would have been as many as the sand… Is.48:4-22 So, even if I failed so badly, that all these “descendants” are now not being reached…how can you “make up” for that or fix it or undo it or go back in time and re-do it? …or stop mourning about it and forgive yourself?

    There were so many individuals that have failed so miserably in the Bible – and how have I not judged them for being such failures?

    I am completely “unqualified” yet, to coach anyone in this regard and for “business projects”, but I am looking forward to break through, because I still believe it is there somewhere.


    • Patricia says

      Dear Annali, the fact that you are posting on this blog site means that you are part of the SLG/Plumbline tribe. The whole SLG/Plumbline tribe has permission to fail. Fail forward by learning and growing from this experience.
      As for “how can you ‘make up’ for that or fix it or undo it or go back in time and re-do it?” Ask God what He would have you do. Adam and Eve totally failed, they couldn’t undo what they had done, but Jesus reversed the curse at the cross.
      Give the feelings and guilt to Jesus, leave them with Him and watch Him do miracles in and through you. He’s done this for me.
      As to being unqualified, I have discovered that God grows and trains us into what He wants and the methods He uses certainly aren’t what I expect, but then His ways are not our ways. (E.G. I look at the life of Joseph and how he went into slavery as training for leadership in Egypt.)
      I cheer you on to keep trying and failing and trying and succeeding.
      Blessings of peace and joy to you,


  8. CJ says

    wow… this is a powerful, untapped focus point. I would comment that when I first came to counseling, there were things I could not say or share because I needed permission… desired permission… begged for permission…but it had to be silent begging because I did not have the permission to go there… my first, clueless counselor simply said… hmmm… you should journal… and he told me what that looked like and with his “permission” to take that journey, quite a bit came out. Another time permission was important was realizing that I was doing some things without permission… and that was rather unkind and rude of me… I needed to be aware of asking for permission and not assume ownership where I had none.


  9. valynda says

    Boy is this one good!

    Made me think of the time when God lead me through healing from the mostly toxic relationship I had with my mother. She was kind of like your dad. Permissive in some ways, but in the “religious” matters, she was the authority! Not until I started having my own relationship with God, did I learn that it was okay to have a different way of thinking, and that He could speak to me as well! Was sure hard on Mom and me during that season, but we did get through it and ended up having a great friendship for a few years before she passed away.

    I will say, I have never thought of it in terms of having permission though.

    Will now take some time to do this exercise in my significant relationships.

    Thanks Arthur!


  10. Patricia says

    “Then I looked at Mom and permissions given to Dad. I hit a black hole there. I couldn’t think of any single permission that she could have given him! Not sure what that means.”

    The day your Mother married your Father and vowed to honor and to obey him, would that be an example?


  11. says

    This resonates. Deeply. I am a creative, currently stagnant. My mother was the controlling one, frequently squelched my honest questions with reprimands of disrespect, and I have played that role in a rapidly-decreasing degree in my family of creation. So to restore permissions, all I have to do is ask the Father to give me permission to become all that He wants me to be in this season of life?

    Thanks! Lorena



  12. Francois Marais says are speaking my language Arthur.
    Permission is certainly one of the more powerful tools in my shed.
    Over the years I saw my wife being transformed through simple permissions – not affirmations – permissions.
    I, by accident – if there is such a thing – discovered my wife with her head and hands in the back end of a washing machine. When she realised I was there she responded with the proverbial ‘hand in the cookie jar’ embarrasment. I recognised immediately, this was one of her joys. I simply said, ‘you go girl, call me if you need me.’
    She has since that day been Mrs Fixit in our home. However, over time, that and a few other ‘permissions’ unleashed the transforming of this quiet, extremely shy young lady into the business executive she is today – brimming with confidence!
    In day to day encounters in my circle of influence, Holy Spirit provides me with many ‘by accidents’, and I latch on to them in a flash, and the transformation process begins.

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