Independence

Independence

At the mature age of two and a half, I would choose one of my mom’s nursing school textbooks off the bookshelf and proudly begin to “read.” My mom would offer to read the book to me, but I would respond “No. I do it myself.” This may come as a surprise to you but not only was I incapable of reading, I was also holding the book upside down.

Sometimes at the age of twenty-seven and a half, I still respond this way when others offer me help. “No. I do it myself.” Being single, there are many areas of my life that necessitate a level of independence for daily living. I do live with my dog but so far she has not learned how to cook or clean. She is still leaving it up to me to buy groceries and determine what is for dinner. I do wish she would increase in her math skills because I don’t always like being independently responsible for doing the currency exchange game when grocery shopping.

In my passport country, there was an ease and many conveniences that often lulled me into believing the lie that I could make it on my own without the help of others. The access to 24/7 electricity, high levels of safety and security, and the ability to have nearly anything I could imagine within minutes or at least within two days was nice. Living in another country and culture gives me nearly daily opportunities to realizes that perception of control and independence will not work here and was not reality there either. Tasks and errands I once could do on my own are not always possible because I don’t know where to go or how to yet communicate what I need. There are also new cultural or safety issues to consider where it requires asking someone else to join me on my errands.

A level of independence in singleness is necessary but when does it become prideful and isolate us from those who are seeking to help or serve us? When are we trying to “read” but we don’t even know our letters and are holding the book improperly? When are we allowing fear or pride from letting others come alongside us?

Paul reminds us in Ephesians as well in 1 Corinthians that God intended His followers to function as a body. This body is a unit made up of various parts with different roles working together to accomplish a mutual task—the task of glorifying Him and advancing the Kingdom.

Ephesians 4:15-16

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

When my independence turns prideful, I cause distance and frustration with other believers. I have denied the kind offer of a listening ear because I pridefully did not want to share what I was going through. In an attempt to fix a problem on my own, I have caused frustration with my teammates who were offering help.

Slowly, I am learning to recognize when my pride causes me to isolate and reject the help of others. I’m also learning how to communicate my needs and even ask for help. Oh, I’m still so bad at it. I am so thankful for the gift of being a member of the body of Christ. Joined and held together by others even when my independent self becomes prideful and says “No, I do it myself.”

How are you putting down pride to accept help from others? What does living out your gifts within the body look like in your season of life?

Photo by Stanislav Filipov on Unsplash

2 Comments

  1. Michele May 18, 2021

    This is so good! I’ve found over the years that God has used my singleness to keeps me more flexible in service overseas, but also used life overseas to keep me dependent on community in my singleness. I sometimes forget how easy it would have been to stay very independent in my passport country. But you’re so right, all the challenges of living cross-culturally have trained me to ask for help and rely on people around me.

    1. Morgan Brouk May 18, 2021

      Thanks! It does bring an increased level of flexibility for sure! Yes, such a gift to learn how to do community well and receive help from others.

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