Joy Stealers – Self-Sufficiency
I got up this morning and poured a hot cup of coffee into my new mug from Christmas. I read my Bible and wrote in my journal. I read my email and contemplated how I would find the time to finish all of the tasks I needed to get accomplished today. I made breakfast and I got myself ready for the day.
Now, re-read the sentences above…they all began with one key word…”I.” If we’re honest with ourselves we all come to realize that in America we live lives that don’t require much faith. I didn’t wake up this morning wondering where I was going to get water…I poured plenty into the coffee pot to make my morning cup. I didn’t fear opening my Bible because I know I live in a country where I’m free to do so in the privacy of my own home. I didn’t worry about whether my children and I would have enough food. Food is plentiful and the grocery store is conveniently down the street if there was ever a temporary “famine” in my home.
It is easy to forget about God as we go through the motions of the day. It is easy to forget that in Him all things consist and He holds all things together (Colossians 1:16). It is easy to forget he alone is our provider, deliverer, restorer and sustainer. It is easy because we are very self-sufficient. We thrive on self-esteem, self-improvement, self-actualization and self-help. (keyword “self”)
The mother of all self-sufficient women was Eve. Sometimes I try visualizing what it would be like to live in Eden…a place unhindered by modern-day worries and stresses. No rush hour traffic, no cell phones, no emails, no two-year old having a tantrum in the back seat while you’re trying to make a u-turn. (not that I’ve experienced that or anything). Even without all of the pressures of life, Eve still chose independence over dependence on God. She wanted to be “like” God and take care of her problems (as if she had any) on her own. She wanted to be a self-made woman.
We still bear the consequences of Eve’s decision. But, through the amazing grace that God gifted us with, and the mercy He showed to us by sending His son Jesus to die for our sins once and for all, we can trust God with our lives. However, we often run ahead of him when prayer is unanswered and when our goals seem attainable by our own means.
Back to “my” morning routing…It all came crashing with a mighty force today! I had been juggling so many balls in the air that even circus clowns would have bowed a knee to my “awesomeness.” But then came the final blow…one final request…one final check box on my “to do” list and I LOST IT!
I cried out to God and in His sweet, still, small voice he said “You’re empty….Only I can fill you.”
So began the end of my self-sufficiency. I needed to be filled by HIM. I needed to be guided by HIM. I needed to be changed from the inside out by HIM. I needed to adjust my attitude because of HIS grace, by HIS love and with HIS power. (keywords: I NEEDED HIM)
It takes a lot for a self-sufficient woman to say she is needy, but there was nothing left of me! He wanted it that way so he could do the transforming work He needed to do in me today. My energy from that point of surrender soared…not because of another cup of coffee but because I laid down the “self-sufficient wonder woman” bit to my loving, heavenly Father. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I was reminded of His attributes…His greatness, His vastness, His “enoughness” …along with my weakness, my finiteness and my emptiness apart from Him.
I pray you cast your burden on Him today because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). I pray you take captive every thought into obedience to His truth (2 Corinthians 10:5). I pray you worship Him today knowing that He holds your life in His hand (Daniel 5:23) and He knows you intimately (Psalm 139:1). I pray His grace would be sufficient for you today (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
If you need to be reminded of His attributes…Here is a great video for you: