From our earliest days, we learn the phrase, “I can do it myself.” Whether learning how to tie our shoes, coloring inside the lines, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, walking to school, learning to drive, heading off to college, and a host of other activities, self-sufficiency is the flag that we fly.
As parents, we want to raise confident, independent, self-sufficient children. We want them to be able to stand on their own two feet as they face the world. It is a character quality and a mindset that each one needs to develop.
When it comes to spiritual matters, however, that sense of independence and self-sufficiency can become our greatest weakness. We will avoid asking others for help because “I can do it myself.” My wife and I were in a small group years ago where one of the couples was moving to a new home. They refused to ask for help on moving day until one of the group members confronted the couple and said, “You are robbing me of the chance to serve and use my gifts.”
Our independent spirit will hinder us from developing a deep relationship with God. Rather than burden God with our needs, we will attempt to solve them in our own power. Our sense of self-sufficiency will cause us to live like functional atheists who confess faith in God but rely on our own abilities.
Our independent, self-sufficient spirit will prevent us from getting close to other people. “I can do it myself” will keep one from sharing prayer requests or telling another person what we are dealing with and how they can encourage us. It can foster a sense of pride that says “I don’t need you.”
Independence and self-sufficiency can be a tremendous strength. But it can also be a tremendous weakness. We need discernment to know when to stand alone and when to ask for help from God and other people.