It is so easy to get caught up in our culture’s idea of being independent. And how much importance it places on it.
We start to see this independence thing as something we should strive after and dependence something to be avoided at all costs. And so we fall into the trap of trying to “make” things happen, or “make” ourselves more spiritual. And then the voice of failure slips in to whisper that we will never be enough, that we will always fail, that all our efforts are for nothing.
Well here’s the thing. Pulling yourself up by your own boot straps will NEVER work. The entire idea of independence is flawed.
Because we were not created to be independent.
We were created as dependent beings. Ultimately dependent upon God, but we are also made for relationships with other people.
Our spouses, our children, mothers, fathers, friends, church body, community.
But we don’t like being dependent on people and though we probably don’t like to admit it, we don’t like being dependent on God either.
And so we trudge on trying to do it all ourselves, in our own strength.
And we WILL fail.
I’ve been there. Just recently in fact, in my mothering, in my other relationships, in my daily life.
It was the perfect blend of grace and freedom in Christ with a gentle mother kind of kick in the pants motivation to not just spend daily quiet time with Him and in the Word, but to infuse it throughout my day. To keep drawing on His strength and the Spirit to bring the gentle word, the patience, the peace, love, and joy that I need.
It’s not like I haven’t heard it before. It’s not like I didn’t already know it, but as I started to implement it, I quickly saw how spending even ten minutes reading a passage and praying changed the whole tone of my mornings.
But here’s the other thing I noticed. My need for Him does not stop after my morning devotions. It’s not like one of those energy shot drinks that will keep you going for 12 hours without needing to refuel.
Today for example, I spent ten or fifteen minutes before children woke up reading a couple Scriptures and offering up my morning. It made a huge difference and I approached a somewhat challenging morning with grace and patience. But as more and more things started to grate on my flesh, I slowly started to slip back into old ways.
My need for Him is constant. Walking in the Spirit takes constant course correcting to stay on the path. I have to notice when I’m starting to respond out of my flesh instead of the Spirit and turn my face back to Him. Ask Him for His love to flow out of me. His strength for my day. His peace and direction.
I’ve been working with my son to “STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN” when I call him. I realized today that it could just as easily apply to me.
When my flesh rises up and I start doing things in my own strength, I need to remember the same thing.
- STOP. Literally stop what I am doing. It never seems to work very well when I try and keep doing, acting, reacting and just kind of half heartedly throw out a “Lord help me.” I have to call a time out for myself and quiet my body and mind.
- LOOK. Turn my face fully to Jesus. Focus my whole attention on him. Confess my frustrations and flesh reactions and pray for his strength, his love, and spirit to fill me. Ask for his help if I’m not sure how to deal with something.
- LISTEN. Take a minute to listen to what he might want to speak to me.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”
When I am relying on him, I can do everything He is asking of me.
But the opposite is also true. Without Christ, I can do nothing. Toiling in my own strength will get me nowhere.
It is when I turn again and again to the well for the living water that I am able to be the light to the kingdom. To live in peace and freedom from constant striving.
So I encourage you today to embrace your dependency upon God. Try infusing more and more Scripture throughout your day, add more spontaneous prayers, or even just talk to Him while you go about your daily chores and activities. The more we etch his words in our heart, the more time we spend with Him, the better able we will be to walk more continually in the spirit.
“My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:1-3
“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Please don’t pursue this with an eye on perfection, but instead with an eye on growth. Perfection is unattainable in this lifetime, but we can steadily grow closer and closer to him and abide more and more in Christ.
And that is something worth pursuing.