(Recommended reading – Psalm 3)
We were brought up by our parents, at least most of us, to be strong and independent. Babies are urged to sit up alone, to walk, to talk at very early ages – and when they accomplish any new feat, they are praised and applauded by everyone. Then they are pushed hard in school to excel in their studies and/or extracurricular activities. Many are encouraged to go out and find part-time jobs as soon as they legally can. They are told they need college or trade school to be successful, to be independent – we normally do not want them to be too dependent on us for too long.
We have a very mobile society these days where some families no longer necessarily live near one another, they can be scattered all over the country – maybe all over the world. The level of communication may be low between parents and children. Grandparents may miss out on the development of their grandchildren.
This is all so far from what life was in years past. Families used to pretty much stay in close proximity to one another and spend time together. This was true even as I was a child and young person growing up. I have been reading a lot of historical westerns and back in the 1800’s families were very tight-knit. It was not unusual for family units to live together for a time in the same home, or for their homes to all be built nearby on their family land. They worked together, played together, enjoyed life together. They relied on one another for help and support. They depended on one another and other nearby families for survival, especially during difficult times.
I believe as we become overly self-sufficient and independent, it can make it much easier to become self-absorbed and so independent, that we not only forget how wonderful it is to have that family bond, but we can forget our need for God in our lives.
We need to stay mindful of God’s deep love for us, as well as the strength and provision He has available for us. As it says in 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NLT): “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” Our daily lives in our current society can be draining on us and the strength that we can draw from our God is critical to our well-being.
I can still remember how when my children were babies and toddlers and I was so proud and happy when their development progressed as it should. I also remember how as they gained their independence and no longer needed or wanted my help, at times feeling disheartened and disappointed. Then as teenagers they suddenly were embarrassed to even be seen with me and pushed even further away. It was very distressing. You know in your heart that it is the natural progression of life, but it still makes you a bit sad. Then even more so as they no longer want your advice or guidance or strength – you go from being their all-knowing parent to the person that in their opinion is just dumb, and they do not want to hear anything you have to say. Eventually they mature into the adults that you have worked hard over the years to help develop and many times you once again can become that all-knowing parent they at times want to lean on.
I have taken a hard look at how we must sadden our heavenly Father as we push Him out of our lives at times, just as our own developing children do. Sometimes we even completely turn our backs on Him like the independent teenagers. We do not want or read His advice for our lives that can be found in His Word. We do not talk to Him regularly or ever. Instead, we yearn for more and more materially – we get so independent we just forget that we need to lean on Him in order to have the strength we need to truly face life successfully – especially when those hard times come around – as they always do.
There is nothing wrong with being independent, to a point. There certainly is nothing wrong with being successful in whatever we choose to do with our lives. But, we should desire to reflect our Father in all we do, and I believe in order to do that, we have to remain dependent on Him.
The entirety of Psalm 3 is a wonderful read, but verses 5-8 (NLT) go so well with my point in this – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”
Think about your life. Do you tend to lean on your own understanding? Do you try to think through everything for yourself without prayer and meditation and guidance from God? Or, do you lean on the tower of strength available to us all – our God in heaven that loves us despite all our shortcomings and failings – that tower that will guide us to make the right decisions for our lives?
Take the time to discover the strength in dependency – just make sure that your dependency is on God and not things, other people or yourself.
Written by Karran Martin – June 18, 2019