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From Fierce Independence To Being Dependent On Others

Posted Nov 12 2012 10:00am
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“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me” (John 5:30).

The story is told that my dear Grandma had knitted her beloved first grandchild a new cardigan. It was knitted with love and had buttons on it, a cazillion buttons, according to my Mum.

“I do it!” These were the newly acquired words my parents dreaded hearing from their precious toddler, as they prepared for outings.

I’ve always been fiercely independent. Stubborn, some might say! It’s my nature to want to do things for myself, as well as possible. Apparently I took an incredibly long time concentrating to do up those buttons, in all sorts of interesting ways! Any offers of help were met with a defiant look, along with the most used toddler word. . . “No!”

What a change illness brings. My nature is to be independent, but my current need is to be dependent on others, and the Lord. “By myself I can do nothing” is now closer to the truth in life and in faith. Losing my independence was one of my deepest griefs on this journey of illness.

Jesus wants us to be totally dependent upon His Heavenly Father, like He is. Strangely, when I get over my pride and humiliation, dependence upon others and God is growing on me, to the point of enjoyment and peace. It feels right when I wear this, without wrestling.

This has taken time and a big change of attitude to see that when I’m dependent on others I’m allowing them to love me, care for me, and bless me. If God wants deep dependence then I figure it’s what is fulfilling for me too. I still have moments of “I do it!” I also still have times of deep frustration, grief and despair, but they are decreasing.

I thought I’d learned to be deeply dependent upon the Lord before I became ill. However, I’m now discovering that there are so very many layers to dependence. I’m slowly learning to sit at my Lord’s feet to hear what He has to say, before I blabber on about what I think is best!

I’m still inherently stubborn and independent, but I’d like to think that John 3:30 is growing in my life. “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Prayer: Lord, help me when I’m grieving the loss of independence in my life. Thank You for the gift of being cared for by those who love me most. Help my dependence upon You to grow ever deeper. Amen.

About the Author Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illness. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

How has being dependent on others affected you during illness? How has “He become greater and you become less” made a positive change in your life?

It can be so hard to be dependent on others, but God gives us special people in our lives and the way we have those intimate, real relationships He designed for us, requires us to ask for help sometimes. This is a lovely song by Twila Paris, “Faithful Friend.”

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