We are pretty obsessed with being independent. I grew up throwing my hands in the air to Destiny’s Child, ‘Independent Women’. We are encouraged to be independent as we grow as young people, independent of our homes, to be emotionally independent in our relationships, (co-dependency is not healthy), to be financially independent, buy and own our own stuff, and even as organisations to be financially independent is highly prized. Reliant on no-one so we can command our own destiny. This isn’t all bad.
Yet in my life as a Christian I have prayed many times over the years:
“God would you make me dependent on you. Make me aware that you are God and I am not, that I am simply your child and never out growing that”.
Back in 2014, my life had been pretty comfortable for a few years, steady job, relationships, financially secure. And I prayed, ‘God I’d like to have an adventure, life is so safe these days, I don’t need to be dependent on you’. That September, my husband Sam was starting a PhD and I was going to be the ‘breadwinner’ to help that happen. It was a Monday, Sam’s first day of PhD, we had a meeting with a mortgage adviser making plans for how we would buy a house when Sam’s income (which came with housing) stopped the following June. All was well, tight but do-able. That evening I did a pregnancy test, it was unexpectedly positive. And the baby was going to be born the following June. We were floored.
The timing was so bad. In the same month I was becoming our only source of income, I was going to have a baby and take maternity leave meaning a big cut in my income. And we were going to need to find somewhere to live. Doh.
The timing was so bad that we knew we couldn’t solve it. It was too big. And that was oddly freeing. Because we immediately knew we couldn’t fix it, we were dependent on God. We were convinced that the timing was too bad to be a coincidence, but God was somehow telling us that He was in the timing and would carry us through it. It was an answer to my prayer earlier in the year, to learn to be dependent on God again.
And He surely did carry us through, there was miracle after miracle of us being able to buy a house, move in before our baby was born, the enormous help from friends and family getting the house ready for us with a tight window. Gaps in our income being filled, a part-time job for Sam that exactly fitted our expected shortfall, his passion, and we found from an email that arrived in his inbox…we still don’t know quite why or how. There were big and small examples over the next 3 years, before circumstances changed again.
But it was also tough. It was emotionally draining, not being able to rely on ourselves or know for sure how all the numbers would add up each month. And the novelty of adventure wore off. I really wanted to go back to the times when I had enough money and my biggest challenge was how to be generous with it, that was fun. I could buy comforts for myself and others.
It’s nice having testimonies of how God has provided and how you have seen Him move in your own life. It is especially nice when you have moved out of that season and you have a stable income again, because you just get to enjoy the kudos with your pals without any of the risk.
But when you’re in it, it is hard to keep praying the prayer to keep being dependent on God, because it cuts against our human nature and longing to be back in control.
Now is the time to remember when we have been dependent on God in the past and He has come through. To ask others about their experiences. When we are weary from the uncertainty we are in at the moment, in the adventure we didn’t ask for, it’s more important than ever to remember. We weren’t made for independence, even if we crave feeling back in control. Take a moment to ask God to show you how being His child, dependent on Him, can be and feel freeing. Find an image, a story or a word that will help you remember the joy of being dependent and a child again. Why not share it with someone else that needs reminding. Next post we’ll explore the impact of looking forward.