Independence Day is just a few days away. We all have a way of celebrating – and insisting on – our independence.
Little children demand early on: “I’ll do it myself.” We tease men about not asking for directions. The last step in the lesson cycle for teachers and students is “independent practice.”
Have you ever wondered if independence is really a lie?
I started jogging when my first marriage became toxic. The exercise was good for me; the sweating and detoxing was healthy. When I signed up to train and run a marathon, it became necessary to pray and run at the same time because I’d never run further than a few miles in my life!
Two different dependencies came from my running. I became dependent on prayer; that’s a good thing. I became dependent on what others thought of my physical fitness and appearance; that was not freedom.
I’m grateful I depended on running instead of food or alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of my dead marriage – but I really just traded “what people thought of my perfect family” for “what people thought of how good I looked.” I couldn’t really hear freedom ringing.
I now believe independence is a lie.
It was the first lie; Genesis only got to chapter three before we believed this lie.
“It’s not good for man to be alone” is a clue. “Let’s make man in OUR image” is another clue.
We’re created to be dependent; dependence is woven into our nature. I still have to let the heaviness and beauty of that reality sink in. We are dependent by design.
So what are we really dependent on? Because this is a blog post and I’m told it’s supposed to be short – let’s accelerate to the finish line: We’re either dependent on truth or lies.
We’ll lean on and find comfort and strength in something. Some choices include:
- Approval / Popularity
Two challenging thoughts:
1. Is what I’m reaching for and leaning on maturing me and giving me real strength – or does it just offer temporary pain relief?
2. What am I teaching my children to depend on?
We can begin to discern lies by recognizing they’re really only pacifiers. A pacifier brings temporary comfort, never freedom; and it doesn’t offer any actual strength for our struggle. OK, maybe some lies (like pride) offer adrenaline-based strength, but that kind of strength is short term, fear based, and dangerous to our long term relational health.
Truth brings comfort, real healing, freedom from shame, unconditional love, and strength for the rest of the journey.
Vulnerable relationships can help us recognize our dependence on lies; good friends lend us strength to lean on truth. Let’s celebrate healthy dependence together! Let freedom ring!
This post is PART ONE in a series of the beauty of humility and dependence. Read other posts at http://janetnewberry.com. Please COMMENT on your thoughts and questions.