The other day I was having a discussion with my friend Mykle about the incredible faith of children. Children have an innocent dependence about them that enables them to have faith in a higher being that takes care of them because of the role of their guardians. If this faith is nurtured, it turns to zeal when they hit their teen years. The teen is anxious to give back to God who has provided for them, desiring to serve on mission trips, feed the hungry or build homes for the homeless.
Then something happens when teens transition to adulthood ... responsibility.
It starts out like a virus, sapping their time and energy as they start working to supply their own needs. Their identity becomes warped and wrapped up in how much they make and what they own. Suddenly they're no longer so willing to give or so eager to serve. They're busy and distracted and they no longer really "need" God to provide for them, because they've learned to provide for themselves, forgetting that He created and owns it all.
Mykle pointed out that as adults, we believe that everything we earn, we own.We tend to act like teenagers with their first job, bringing home an Xbox or new clothes and declaring, "They're mine! I bought them." Only to have our parents remind us that we're using their electricity or their washing machine and living under their roof. So, our newly purchased toys are basically useless without what the parental units provide to operate and house them.
God must often look at us the same way, as we boast about what we make or what we earn, forgetting that nothing is truly ours. In our independence we become like God, so we no longer see the need for God. We drift away from the church and our faith sputters out like a flame without fuel.
Then, some life-shattering event happens. We lose the job that has become our identity, or a close family member dies. Something occurs to remind us how powerless we truly are, and we either lose hope entirely, or we seek out some sort of lowercase god (drugs, love, alcohol, sex, anything we can stuff in the God-shaped hole in our heart). All the while, God is waiting and knocking ... wondering when we'll come back and allow Him to take care of us.
No wonder Matthew 18:3 says, Unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Raised by and around strong, independent women, I have always valued my independence. Independence that was recently shattered when I fractured a bone in my ankle and had to rely on the people around me for basic needs and assistance. My active life consists of a 40-hour per week job, a big family family, a heavy volunteer schedule, treadmill time and softball. All of which were limited (if not completely put on hold) due to my injury. Angry and depressed about all I suddenly couldn't do, I realized how much of my identity and self-worth are wrapped up in the activities I do rather than the person I am.
My independence has always been one of my greatest strengths, but now I see where it has also been a weakness, keeping me from relying on anyone else. Unfortunately, that includes God. Why should I depend on Him, when I can do it all myself? But just because I CAN do something, doesn't mean I SHOULD. In fact, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
So, what does this all mean? Well, for me it means that it's time for me to give up my shallow independence and go deeper in my faith. I'll be taking some pretty crazy leaps of faith in the near future and I'm posting this to make sure I'm held accountable. Time to give God the reins and let Him truly reign in my life.