Reading Time: 4 mins

My Badge of Self Sufficiency

Reading Time: 4 mins

God is not calling us to “grow up.” He is calling us to dependence.

When I was young, I thought adults had it all together. As children, we always need help. We rely on other people to meet our needs, whether it’s help from parents, teachers, grandparents, or caretakers. But as we slowly grow older, we take more and more on as we get ready to leave the nest. This transition from child to adult is healthy. However for me, as I grew into young adulthood, my relationship between taking care of myself and needing help became distorted. Asking for help made me feel like a failure, whereas taking care of myself felt like a badge of honor.

I assumed self-sufficiency is the hallmark of a successful adult.

We tend to put this same narrative into our walk of faith as well, the narrative that I can grow into being a better Christian. I can have and should move into a more “adult” faith. I assumed that if I could slowly start getting myself and my sins under control, I would be less of a burden to my Lord and Savior. He can put more effort into the lost lamb, and I can care for myself. I’ll make sure I’m hanging out in the pasture! 

This past year I found myself in more leadership roles, which meant I had more things to plan and execute. During that time, I also found out I was pregnant, which led to me spending months on the couch with nausea. About halfway through my pregnancy, I started to feel better. I had a few blissful weeks, and then I threw out my back. In August, I finally gave birth to my seventh son. He is a perfectly healthy growing boy but also fussy, and the world doesn’t seem quite right to him unless he’s in my arms! Over the past few months, there were many days I felt completely overwhelmed and nowhere close to having it all together. There were many times I complained to God that there was someone that was much better suited to all the things he had piled on my plate, all of the ministry he had called me to, and all the mothering he had blessed me with – someone who would have more time and talent. 

I have struggled to ask for help with my unhealthy view of self-sufficiency. To differing degrees and for different reasons, we all struggle to ask for help, whether from pride, embarrassment, our blind spots, or feeling alone and not knowing who to turn to. Whatever the reason, there is something very difficult about admitting our needs.

God, in his love for me, didn’t let me carry on with my distorted view of self-sufficiency. He has slowly and sometimes painfully ripped this from my hands throughout the years.

I’ve learned moving into leadership doesn’t mean you ask for help less; it means you ask for it more! I have to depend on my team and hand things off. I would never be able to accomplish as much if I didn’t ask for help. Being sick and unable to keep up doesn’t mean I am worthless or should hide away until I am better; it’s an opportunity to share my need with others and let them minister to me. There is blessing found both for those caring and the one being cared for.

Having children has especially shown me my need for the help of others. I literally can’t get it all done without help! There is so much unpredictability with children, and as I mentioned before, each child is so needy in their own way. I have to ask for help from family, friends, and my spouse, and I also ask for help from my children, not only to teach them but because I need it. 

It’s humbling when we have to ask for help, especially when it’s not just one time but something we do over and over again. And maybe that’s what gets me the most. I can push myself to ask once or twice, but I really struggle to ask for help over and over again! That’s what gets incredibly frustrating for me. But it’s here, in exactly this place, that God is at work in me. He is teaching me about the distorted lens that I see through. God hasn’t set our relationship up with him to move from needing him greatly to growing up and being less of a burden. We don’t graduate from needing God. He is not handing out a badge of honor for being self-sufficient in our faith. 

We diminish Christ’s work on the cross when we think we have moved on from our original dependence.

God is not calling us to “grow up.” He is calling us to dependence. He isn’t groaning when we come to him for help again and again. We are his children. Our need for our parents may lessen, but our need for God will never diminish. In fact, as we grow in our walk with the Lord, we see our need for him deepen. 

God has changed the lens on the way I view my need for help. Growing up and “adulting” is absolutely healthy, but we will never have it all together, and asking for help is actually necessary for growth and maturity. (It’s also necessary to keep seven children fed and alive!)

We diminish Christ’s work on the cross when we think we have moved on from our original dependence. Dependence on God gives life and lifts our burdens. We don’t need Christ less as we get “better.” 

Christ has done the work on our behalf; he wants us to come to him again and again and again, to the point it’s uncomfortable and makes us groan at our need. He does not tire; he does not groan; rather, he is always right here, generous to uphold us and proclaim forgiveness to our broken, dependent souls. 

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matt. 18: 2-4).