Dear Independent One, I get you.
I understand you. I’m like you. I tend to want to be in control, and I like to do things on my own. I don’t enjoy asking for help and I don’t easily admit it when I’m struggling.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with an independent personality; God gave us each different personality traits for different reasons. The problem, however, is when we try to do everything on our own, and we forget: we need help sometimes, too.There’s nothing wrong with being independent; God gave us each different personality traits for different reasons. The problem is when we try to do everything on our own, and we forget: we need help sometimes, too. Click To Tweet
Earlier this year, I found out I have POTS. To sum it up shortly, it’s a chronic condition where the autonomic nervous system doesn’t function as it should. Being sick or, at least, not one hundred percent well, means you have to rely on other people more.
Which, for me, is hard.
Now, before I go on, this article isn’t intended just for those who are sick; it’s for anyone who prefers to be independent and has something that makes it hard to be so. Because independent people don’t like relying on others. And that’s exactly what you must do when you’re stuck in a pit you can’t get out of on your own.
Accept God’s Little Graces
Ever since I was diagnosed with POTS, my brother has started discreetly taking over the household chores I find more difficult or irritating. Sweeping, for example. He insists that he do the sweeping and mopping around the house because he knows standing up for long periods of time makes the symptoms act up more.
When he first started doing this, I was touched by the thought but annoyed at his persistence. It honestly seemed silly to me because POTS is just “everyday life” now. It’s not the end of the world if I’m a little extra dizzy. And to be honest, it made me feel lazy. Like I was sitting back and letting him do all the work just because I was sick.
I mentioned this to my French tutor, who is also a local pastor’s wife here in West Africa and explained why it frustrated me so much. She listened patiently and then gave a quiet little laugh.
“Rue,” she said. “I understand why you’re frustrated. Because you’re just like me. You like to be in control. You want to do it all on your own. But you can’t.”
I was trying to chew those words, but what she said next made me rethink my previous reaction.
“God created you to be just the way you are. He does not make mistakes. Which means He purposefully allowed for your body to not function correctly. But He also planned all along for you to have a wonderful brother who is a blessing to you even when you do not want to admit that you were never created to do it all on your own. Maybe God is trying to teach you that even when you can do it by yourself, you are not always supposed to do it by yourself.”
We all have little graces in our lives. Some of them we don’t need. And if you’re like me, it’s hard to accept help you don’t need. But here’s the thing: we were created to work together in love. God placed specific people in our lives for specific reasons and it’s easy to overlook what a blessing they are.It’s hard to accept help you don’t need. But here’s the thing: we were created to work together in love. God placed specific people in our lives for specific reasons and it’s easy to overlook what a blessing they are. Click To Tweet
Next time you go to turn down help –offered out of selfless love– that you think you don’t need, I challenge you to seek God and ask Him to teach you humility strong enough to accept a caring hand.
Because, friend, there is great strength in a humble and willing heart.
Remember You Are Weak, but He is Strong
One of the hard things about having an independent personality as a Christian is that it makes it harder for us to acknowledge our need for God.
Deep down, we know we’re weak. We know we can’t do it all on our own. If you and I are being completely truthful, we both know we need a greater help.
And we don’t like that thought.
Because we don’t want to be weak or incapable or helpless. We don’t like to acknowledge how small we really are. And that’s dangerous. Because when you hide your weakness, you’re inadvertently covering up the evidence of God’s grace and love in your life.
Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?”
God’s overwhelming selfless love—a love that defines Who He is according to 1 John 4:8—is magnified in our weakness. His greatness is glorified in our helplessness.
Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Let’s say a piece of white paper represents God’s love. Now imagine a heart being drawn and colored in. The heart is whole, but you can’t see the white paper—“God’s love”—beneath the ink. Now picture another heart being drawn, this one broken in two. There is a clear line of white separating the two sides.
In other words, there is no evidence of a perfect God in a flawless heart. We must acknowledge our brokenness—our helplessness—to magnify the beauty of His love and grace.We don’t like to acknowledge how small we really are. And that’s dangerous. Because we’re covering up the evidence of God’s grace and love in our life. We must acknowledge our brokenness to magnify the beauty of His love and grace. Click To Tweet
So, dear Independent One, don’t be afraid of your weakness. There is great joy in letting go of that which you were not created to hold on your own; a beautiful reminder in acknowledging that you are weak, but He is strong.