I am survivor. I am a doer. I’m also self-reliant.
Survivor is a badge I wear proudly. Surviving multiple things such as domestic violence, health issues, and upheaval of community has lead me to become self-reliant. Most of the time, I’m pretty proud of my self-reliance. While being self-reliant, I’m also a doer. Doer’s have a hard time sitting down and not doing anything. These fine qualities can help you navigate life well, but if you’re unhealthy, they can become very detrimental.
Being self-reliant in this culture is something people pride themselves on. But what if these qualities could come from a good place? Being God-reliant instead of self-reliant can be key to helping someone become a healthy survivor of any situation.
Self-reliance is relying on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others. With the upheaval of community, this has pushed me into this space of relying on my own power and strength. During certain times it’s good to know your own strength, what your limits are, and how to navigate life without help. But the reality is, you can’t do life alone. Doing life alone can lead to depression, temptation, and a whole other host of issues. While grateful for being strong-willed, it can lead others to not know how to help you. Coming out of self-reliance means asking for help, being grateful when it shows up, and relying on God for the outcomes.
God-reliance is recognizing God’s sovereign providence over all that we are and all that we have. He calls us to experience grace which is getting what you don’t deserve. When you receive a gift for no reason, most people are very grateful. This is grace. “Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.” (Paul Zahl) Why bring up grace in a conversation on God-reliance? Because without grace, we don’t understand or recognize God’s providence over it all. Relying on God goes against everything we are told in American culture. People often ask me, ‘What gives you so much strength?’ I tell them God. Relying on God is the only way to get through trials without relying on worldly substitutes. Without him, I wouldn’t be alive or have the life he’s given me. Don’t get me wrong, at times it’s hard to rely on God. But when I mess up and start over again, He’s right there to pick up the pieces and put them together to use it for something much bigger than me.
How to keep going when you think you can’t
Surviving so many things makes you appreciative for both the good and bad times. Good times give you rest and bad times help you grow. While I’m always grateful for the good times, the bad times make you aware of how you’re not in control. The sooner I realized God was in control, the easier life became cause I gave up self-reliance. Giving up self-reliance is a huge blessing. It took all of the burden off my shoulders. Having someone who can take our burdens and give life back, is one of the miraculous gifts of God. Through total reliance on God, my confidence has come back to help me live out my purpose.
Surviving, being God-reliant, and a doer can all be amazing qualities if under God’s control. This has been a worthwhile lesson to learn this last year. My hope is people realize there is grace, unconditional love and someone who wants to take all your burdens. That’s what this season is all about – becoming God-reliant.