We live in a culture where it is frowned upon to be dependent. Everyone wants to be self-sufficient, self-made, and self-maintained, no one wants to “need” anyone. Having a need is thought to be a sign of weakness, and in our culture, we insist on being perceived as “strong,” even if we are struggling and stressing to uphold this persona.
In 2000, women all over the world were “Throwing their hands up” proclaiming their independence with Destiny’s Child, as they sang their hit, Independent Woman. Those lifted hands became a sign of solidarity among women, as well as an affirmation that women could take care of themselves. Those waving hands were a sign of allegiance to declare that we did not need a man , or anybody else, to buy us diamonds, houses, clothes, or shoes!” No, hunny, “I bought that,” because Darling, “I depend on me!” Not only was the song catchy, but the message was a magnet, and I was drawn in. When I attended their concert in the summer of 2001, I was all into the hype, hands up, and singing every lyric! While, I was not living this “Independent” lifestyle at 19 years old, becoming an “Independent Woman” became my deepest aspiration, and I was not alone. Being able to provide for ourselves, and not having expectations of anyone, other than ourselves, became the standard and definition of a strong and successful woman! There would be many similar anthems that would follow, including Neo’s nod to this Boss of a woman in his 2008 hit, Miss Independent Woman.
There is nothing wrong with being a confident woman who can take care of her own needs, and purchase the things she desires. I am not suggesting that any woman should wait around to be found by a man, to establish herself in life, and position herself for “success.” Yet, I do wonder if this mindset of INDEPENDENCE has pushed us away, even if subconsciously, from ASKING, EXPECTING, and DESIRING God’s help!
I’ll admit, there is something powerful and liberating about being independent. It’s the “Control” factor. I mean, what teenager doesn’t think constantly when given a directive by a parent or other adult,
I can’t wait ’til I’m grown!
Believing that when we’re “grown” we don’t have to answer to anyone, and that every decision in life is our own to make feels DYNAMIC. When those self-determined decisions end up bringing us some level of success, our independence is even impressive! However, while being independent may be impressive to ourselves, and others, it is not a characteristic that impresses nor, pleases God. His plan from the beginning of time was to live in constant communication WITH US. When Adam and Eve were banished from “The Garden of Eden” in Genesis 3, because of their decision to act independently from God’s instruction, God put a plan in motion to reconcile humans back to their place of relationship with Himself. Jesus became the “Way” that reconciliation would happen, and He endured the most brutal death possible, taking upon His body all of the punishment we deserved, in order to ensure this was possible. Jesus did not make the “Way” for us to be restored to our “right-standing” with God, so that God would act as a “silent partner” in our journey toward a purpose-filled existence. He wants to be brought into the journey, He wants to engage with us in constant dialog, where we are seeking Him for wisdom, and actively trusting His direction.
You know that sense of freedom that that we feel when we are confidently acting independently? What if I told you that that sense of liberty is false. Not only is it false, but it is exactly what keeps us from realizing our fullest potential. There is only one factor that separates freedom from bondage, and that is the Spirit of the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 3:17 the Bible says,
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
The Spirit of the Lord is the gift that Jesus promised in John 14:26 when He said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” In John 16:13, Jesus also describes The Holy Spirit as the “Spirit of Truth,” leading and guiding us into ALL truth! So then, our trust in, connection with , and obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the path to reaching our maximum potential, which results in true Freedom, not independence.
As we become more dependent upon God, we will discover that His will is not only that we “abide” in Him, and receive His help, but also that we connect with other people, in healthy relationships. We need people in our lives who will support and encourage us on our life’s journey. So then, the enemy’s greatest tactic is to convince us that we don’t need anyone. In most cases, he will fail at fully convincing us that we don’t need God, but his success rate at convincing us that we don’t need other people in our lives, is extremely high! The notion that we don’t need anyone else, is as a much a lie, as believing we don’t need God. When we don’t think we need others, self-dependence occurs, and self-dependence leads to isolation and loneliness, we were not created for isolation. Yet, if you study our current culture, so many are insisting on isolation, and it is detrimental because it leads to deep depression and sometimes, the self-inflicted loss of a life! We were created to receive and give love, loving God and loving other people is the purpose of our lives (Matthew 22:37), this is the foundation from which every other aspect of our lives should flow from.
A lot has changed for me, since that summer day at the concert. Then, my deepest desire was to wear the seemingly “honorable” badge of Independent Woman. Today, after having had the experience of “wearing” that badge , and realizing it was not as fulfilling as I’d hoped it to be, my desire has changed. Now, my deepest desire is to become fully DEPENDENT. I am learning that being in this posture takes much more strength of character and humility, than being independent ever did.
Being in this posture also positions me to live the “abundant life” that most of us aspire to experience. See, being fully dependent upon God doesn’t exclude my intelligence, my creativity, or my desires, It doesn’t make me a robot! In fact, Total Dependence actually reinforces those things because it allows me to accept without any doubt the way God created or wired me, and it quiets the noise of insecurity that comparison brings, allowing me to confidently pursue the mission that God placed in MY heart to fulfill.
Self-reliance is a life filled with unnecessary pressure, where we constantly feel inadequate to achieve the success that we envision, because quite honestly, we are inadequate to fulfill our mission in the earth without God! God never intended for us to be solo achievers. We are called “Co-Laborers or Co-Workers” with God in I Corinthians 3:9. I have accepted that fulfilling my mission in the earth is going to require me to collaborate with God! He WILL NOT do my part because He has equipped me with everything I need to do my part, and I CANNOT do His! I am excited that I am consistently exercising faith to be Dependent, and I am experiencing more peace and freedom as I continuously embrace the vulnerability of a surrendered life to God, which includes devoting my life to connecting with others. My life is better since I released the false sense of security that came from being “independent,” and I am much more available for my purpose as a result.
My hope for you is that you consider the freedom and peace that comes in living a Dependent life, and that you will take the leap into living this wonderful life of connecting with God in a surrendered way, and genuinely embracing the vulnerability that comes with connecting with others.
Until next time, keep your hope living!