I’ve always been good at being self-sufficient. If I had a problem, I’d find a way to fix it. If I were feeling sad, I would realize it was my responsibility to make sure I stopped feeling that way. Essentially, I’ve always had the logical sense to realize that nobody else could fix my problems; I knew I had to be responsible and take care of them myself.
In many ways, I applied that to my relationship with God. He had good works prepared for me to do, so I’d better get my act together and get them done, right?
Experiencing the heart of God
Well, my whole life philosophy got flipped around in high school, when I went from knowing the facts of God, to truly knowing and experiencing the heart of God.
Yes, He did have good works prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10), but He also designed me so I can only love because He first loved me (1 John 4:19). He created us to be loved; He created us to operate out of a place of wholeness instead of simply sacrifice.
So that was my growing pain, and that’s what I’ve spent the last 10 years learning…that God loves me, and He designed me to be loved.
Yes, after years of taking care of myself, I had to start realizing that I was not an island. God cared about me, He cared about the details of my life, and even harder yet for me, He wanted me to receive love from others.
Uncovering the lie of self-sufficiency
Being self-sufficient came easily to me, it felt safe, it seemed there was no room for disappointment. As long as I did not let myself down, all was well, or so I had convinced myself. Really, I was living a robotic life. No one could hurt me, since no one could emotionally touch me, but at the same time, no one could love me. I programmed the pain out, and the joy went away right along with it.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Being self-sufficient (or thinking I was) was completely Satan’s way of stealing from me. It stole the life God had for me, an abundant, joyful life, which He meant for me to live to the full!
Finding my true security in Christ
Realizing that truth was one thing, walking it out day to day has been another. I wish I could say a switch flipped during one powerful moment of prayer and I instantly opened my heart to all the love God and others had for me; however, that was far from my reality. Instead, I’ve had countless opportunities to renew my mind, to turn to God in prayer, and to realize that all along I have been my greatest opponent in my quest to find peace and happiness.
I thought throwing my heart into neutral would keep me safe, but it just kept me permanently empty. Sure, opening up your heart to the love of others may mean disappointment, and it may very well mean a tear or two (or two thousand), but that’s why God is referred to as an anchor, why He is called our rock, He is the one who we can lean on in times of trouble. It’s safe to risk being hurt by others when the primary one we open our heart to above all others is also our healer, Jesus.