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“I’ve had a lot of time to think,” I dictated aloud to my phone to record my musings on October 21, 2020. I had been recovering for twelve days after a freak accident put me in the hospital for almost a week. Doctor’s orders were to rest and allow my brain injury to heal—no reading, writing, driving, or screen time. Life came to a screeching halt. 

During my time of recovery, I was utterly dependent on others. I required help to walk around the house, get dressed, and remember simple facts like my kids’ birthdays. For months, our friends and family provided meals, helped with our five children, and did countless other things for us that I previously did on my own every day. I am eternally grateful for it all.

As much as I wouldn’t have wished for it, this experience has given me a new perspective on being dependent on others and specifically, being dependent on God. 

In our society, accepting help from others is a humbling experience. It requires acknowledging that we can’t do it all on our own. This, as I described in my dictated notes, “was a real gut check” for me. Women are capable of doing so much, and God has made each of us for beautiful, unique missions. Answering His call for our lives is our privilege and duty. Often though, we take on so much that we aren’t aware of our own limitations. We begin believing the lie that “it’s all up to us” and that accepting help is a form of weakness. In fact, our society praises this type of independence.

In Fearless and Free, this mindset is described as ungodly self-reliance, or pride [1], which often prevents us from being fully grounded in God’s love and grace. It places our worth (which God defines as His beloved daughters) in something other than God (what and how much we do).  

While I don’t think God intends for bad things to happen to us, I think He uses hard times to bring us closer to Him. When we are dependent on others in times of need, it’s a reminder that we were never meant to fight our battles alone. And often, it’s not until we are stripped of the things we thought were in our control that we are shown the degree of our dependence on God. 

Our dependence on God should be a daily practice. And for many of us (read: recovering) self-reliant folks, this is a struggle. I think C.S. Lewis sums it up best when he says, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” [2]

What does reliance on God look like? Allow me to reintroduce you to the Beatitudes—in particular, the very first one: 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [3]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes being poor in spirit as voluntary humility. [4] It’s consciously recognizing we cannot “do it all,” and we are utterly dependent on God for everything. This applies to us all—no matter how capable, independent, or gifted you are. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the group that Jesus says possesses the kingdom of heaven. And the ticket in? Humility. 

Sometimes it takes a life-altering event to come to the realization that not only can we NOT do it all, but also we were never meant to do it all. Regardless of where you fall on the self-reliance spectrum, can you join me in fostering a true dependence on God every day? Let’s begin by meditating on the virtue of humility.

[1] Fearless and Free 6-Lesson Bible Study, Lesson 3 Talk, “Grounded,” https://walkingwithpurpose.com/fearless-and-free-videos/.
[2] C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.
[3] Matthew 5:3
[4] Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2546,  https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a0.htm#2546.

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