It’s July—the month we celebrate our Independence as a nation. As bittersweet as it is, given the events of the last year, it is still worth pausing to reflect on how blessed we are as a nation and what true independence actually means.
Independence, in the political sense framed by our forefathers, recognized the God given right to self-determination, to be free of tyranny to do that which we ought to do. Sadly, our freedoms are eroding as we instead claim the right to do whatever we want to do, good or bad.
But when it comes to our emotional and family lives, is sheer independence something for which we ought to strive? It can be confusing. As we grow up, we want our independence from our parents—to make our own choices and pursue our own dreams. It’s a natural part of the maturation process. But is it something we should continue to pursue? Does being “independent” work in all areas of our lives?
The short answer is no. Having some degree of independence of course is healthy. To have our own means of transportation, to support ourselves and to choose where and how we live are important aspects of living independent lives. But we can take that concept too far, and too often we do.
Imagine what complete independence would actually look like. You would grow and cook your own food, chop your own wood for fire and heat, build your own house, forge your own nails to hold the house together, find your own water source and haul it to your house, do your own surgery, create your own means of communication, provide your own light sources, weave your own fabrics and sew your own clothes…you see where I’m going.
The truth is we are not meant to be totally independent. We are called instead to a healthy “interdependence” with others. Everyone brings their own unique talents to the table—farmers grow the food, truckers bring it to market, engineers build our roads etc. We truly need one another.
When it comes to our relationships and families, this idea of a healthy interdependence is an important concept, which, when understood and implemented, can lead to greater harmony and, believe it or not, a greater sense of freedom.
Conceptualize a large corporation. It has departments. People with varied skills work in those departments contributing their time and talents to make the company run smoothly and successfully. If the CEO were to try to do every job, the company would inevitably fail to live up to its potential and he or she would burn out rather rapidly. It’s simply untenable.
As an individual, you have certain physical and emotional needs—or departments, if you will. Trying to run every department with no help or input from others leads to burn out and relationship failure.
As independent as you may strive to be, most people want to feel like a useful and a valued part of a team. By trying to do it all yourself, the significant people in your life can feel demoralized and alone.
By understanding your role (or roles), the particular strengths you bring to the table and the strengths and gifts others bring, you can work together more harmoniously. When you are walking in your strengths and respecting the talents and gifts of others, you set yourself up to become the best version of yourself and set the stage for others, especially your children, to do the same.
So, as we celebrate our Independence as a nation, pray for God to continue to bless us and protect those freedoms in jeopardy of being lost. And let’s pray also for the humility and grace to strive for a life of healthy interdependence as we build the Kingdom here on earth.
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