On my flight to Colorado a month ago, I sat bored on the plane, thinking about how I was going to live outside of Indiana for the first time in my life. I started to sink into self-pity and shame because I’m not quite as independent as I feel the pressure to be. I then began to wonder why the Christian culture has adopted society’s view that complete independence should be one of our highest goals, even when the Bible seems to have more to say about dependence than independence.
Now I would like to insert a disclaimer here: I am a firm believer in happy mediums — everything in moderation. I do not believe in enabling people in their weaknesses, immaturity or in total dependency. However, we should have a good social support system. To have and be a social support to each other, we have to be each others’ strength until we’re ready to do it on our own and be unleashed to be someone else’s social support.
So I came to Focus Leadership Institute questioning how we are supposed to approach independence. In class last week, we talked about this idea of God creating us for relationship with one another. We talked about how we tend to have a mindset that God is all we need; it’s everywhere in the songs we sing — even in some of my favorites, saying, “All I need is You, Lord,” for example. And it’s definitely true that if we don’t have God and give Him all of us, He isn’t Lord of our lives, and everything else is next to pointless. However, is it true that He is really all we need and that’s how He wants us to think?
In the Bible’s story of creation, we see Him say repeatedly, “It was good, it was good, it was good, it was very good” etc. The first “It was not good” came in here: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
The man, Adam, who was able to walk and talk with God in ways we can’t fathom, was alone in a way that God himself acknowledged was not good for him. You see, the nature of God gives rise to how all things function, and the nature of God is this: He is the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and is in perfect relationship, community and oneness with himself, as funny as that sounds. We were created in their image together (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, we are designed to participate in and enjoy oneness and intimacy with each other.
Our Christian culture has bought into the lie that the only thing we need is God when we were created not only vertically (to be in relationship with God), but also horizontally (to be in relationship with others). Marriage is one of the ways this relationship occurs, but it is also supposed to take place within the church (John 17:20-23).
Maybe we should be a little more hesitant when we throw out “God is all I need.” Is He really? Was that truly His original intent? My dad told me something once that I believe applies to more than just the parent-child relationship: “Anna, you can do this alone, but you don’t have to; that’s why God gave you us.”