Last post I shared some of my journey in recent years of learning how to be dependent on God and unlearning my decades of trying to be an independent woman. And about how being dependent on God and others, not independent, has actually felt more free. But it also tiring not feeling in control.
Right now, we are in a huge moment of seeing our dependence on God. With the global pandemic and sharp recession, the scientists, the governments, the economists, the medics, the experts, no-one knows how this will end or how we get out of it right now. We are dependent on God in a way that the West hasn’t felt it for decades, so many of the things that felt sure, aren’t any more.
Personally, I feel overwhelmed. There are lots of plates I’m trying to spin, even spinning one feels like too much at the moment, let alone spinning all of them. I need God. And I want to learn to live dependent on God and the people around me again. Not independent of the one who made me, or the people He gave me to share life with. We weren’t designed for independence, it’s too much for any one of us to bare right now.
I don’t want to pursue my independence and measure my success againt how independent I am. I want to count all the places that I am dependent as my success. All the times I let God take charge. All the times I ask a friend for help. All the times I partner with others to achieve something.
In Destiny Child’s style, I want to throw my hands up in the air for ‘together’, together with God and together with my community, not independent women any more.
That sounds nice. But it doesn’t often feel nice. So my prayer today, is that God would show me one step at a time, how I actually do that, how I walk life dependent on Him. Because right now, life and circumstances around me can crush me. If I cling on to my independence song, I am on a road to crumbling, whether that be emotionally, financially or spiritually. But I’ve spent my life being coached in how to be independent and that appeals to my innate desire to control.
I can’t just wake up and choose to be dependent on God, I need to learn how to live dependent. I need to learn how to ask for help. I need to remember the steps I’ve already taken and ways I’ve learnt to depend on God, and take the next step on. Learning to pray more deeply and trust that God holds even the big and complex situations. I need to learn how to hear what God is saying in the midst of a very noisy house.
The next step in swapping our independence chant for our dependent song will be different for us all. But my prayer is that in these weird times, we learn to grow more dependent on God and each other and don’t get crushed as we try to cling to our independence. Why not take a moment to ask God what one step you can take to release control of your life and be open to relying on Him and other people? Why not go further and find a friend you trust and ask them if they can see any areas in your life where you could do this? If there’s part of your life that fills you with fear or frustration when you think about it changing, that’s a good sign that you’re holding control of that thing and relying on it rather than trusting it over to God.
When you feel like you’re in freefall swapping what you’re clinging to can feel too risky. But if you’re hanging over a gorge gripping onto the one remaining branch (which we will call independence), that branch doesn’t grip you back. It is solely reliant on your strength to keep holding onto it, to stop you falling all the way down the gorge. If we can dare to let go of that branch and reach out to dependence instead, we will find that it grips us back, arms with hands that will hold us. Hands that will pull us back up even when our strength to grip has gone.