The Boundary of Self-Sufficiency
If you are attempting to ride out a storm of difficult circumstances self-sufficiency is one boundary that needs to come down.
Our culture tends to think of self-sufficiency as only a positive term but the bible teaches us what the desire of self-sufficiency led to for Satan. Satan did not want to depend on God or have to bend a knee to God and the result was being cast out of heaven; eternally separated from God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The tower of Babel was built out of the desire to be self-sufficient; “From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4-9. The Laodicean church claimed self-sufficiency and were rebuked for it. Revelation 3:17.
In the midst of problems, depression, or difficult relationships have you ever been told, “You must not have enough faith” or, “You must not be praying enough”? Do you look at other people and think they must not have any problems and are therefore more mature in their walk. Do you reason that the person who hides their problems or keeps problems to themselves is a shining example of self-control and wisdom?
Consider this, Luke 18:11-14, “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
We see here the messed up tax collector admitted to his messiness and went home justified while the Pharisee went home humbled (but not by his own will).
If you do not consider yourself as fitting either the Pharisee or Tax Collector scenario and are living the good life in a good place with wonderful people; I have a challenge for you.
If a friend approaches you with a heavy heart please take the time to listen. Then go home and pray; ask God why He allowed you to hear your friend’s heart. You do not have to give them wise counsel, practical application or attempt to fix the problem. Just listen. Pray with them. Pray scripture over them. Write a note or send an email to let them know you care. Mourn with those who mourn. I believe this is one of the toughest assignments given in scripture. We think of mourning as an emotion we experience after a loved one’s death but it can also be the result of a lost relationship, a dysfunctional relationship, unmet expectations or living through difficult circumstances. You never know how long the storm in someone’s life is going to rage and you may become tired and weary of listening, but stay in there with them. Mourn with those who mourn.
When we think we have it all together and need no one; we forget that we are made to be in relationship with God and with other people. Do what you are designed to do; connect with other people.
Being self-sufficient, as in personally responsible for yourself, is part of self-government and is biblically supported. That’s different. What I’m talking about is people who do not connect with others, have no need for others and do not bond with others sometimes for the purpose of keeping their problems a secret or keeping safe from ever being hurt by others.
Come to terms with your needs. God allows them in your life so you will have need for Him and need for others.
Tear down your wall of self-sufficiency. Allow friends to enter. Pray to God for one trust-worthy godly friend who will have the ability to hang in there with you, to celebrate with you, to mourn with you, to pray with you, to listen and with whom you can experience close relationship.
If you do not trust yourself to find healthy people to be in relationship with I recommend the book, Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good For You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I also encourage you to find a local church home and plug into a class, study or support group through the church.
You need at least one God-given friend to walk your lonely, difficult, heart-aching road with you.
God wants us to be dependent on Him for our needs and He also wants us to be interdependent on others through close relationships.