The word itself (dependence) probably gives off different reactions according to who you are and what your life experiences amount up to. Initially thinking about it, I don’t like the word, especially when it’s linked to me in a personal way. The idea that I am controlled or limited by a challenge or a situation bothers me. Control, much like pride, is a dangerous vice that can consume our personalities and push away the people we love.
And make no mistake about it, what you depend on in life make up that you are and it is controlling. But there are good and healthy dependences as well as ones that will, in due time, destroy yourself. For example, when we are young we are dependent on our parents for the most basic of needs, such as feeding, clothing and housing us. But we also rely on them to encourage and teach us as we grow mature, which eventually leads us into taking care of ourselves. Another instance to depend on close friends, or family members for continual growth after adolescence. Not-as-healthy dependences tend to lead us into unfulfilling lifestyles, or at the very least, a set of negative consequences to deal with. A dependence on food (especially Oreos) can bring you to obesity, high cholesterol, and leave you poor(er) in finances. (Unless of course, you were being paid to eat Oreos, which would be pretty sweet, but still leave you with the former two consequences.) Perhaps we think of the more addictive (and sometimes substance-related) dependences like cigarettes or excessive alcohol, which could in poor health, bad decision-making or maybe just a hang over. No matter how you look at it, it’s in our nature to depend on something, and regardless if it’s “better” or “worse” there still is a loss of control.
But there is one exception…
Living with my parents wasn’t exactly what I had in mind after college, especially considering their lack of faith. Having time everyday to read my Bible to my heart’s content and still pulling worthwhile lessons for myself has been a delight to me in this difficult time because I am most afraid of living and relying on myself. In other words, I have thrown away most of my control and have replaced it with a dependence on God. Even though I don’t know what is going to be in store for me day-by-day (if there is going to be another fight, or where I’ll be receiving my next meal), I’m learning that when I depend on Lord of my everyday spiritual and physical needs, the loss of control that I’m so used to having is replaced by something better. In other dependences, you lose control unwillingly, which results in a bitter personality and an internal struggle. But when dependence on God is willfully practiced, control is transplanted with freedom of mind. This blows my mind. The very thing I thought I wanted (control) is replaced with the opposite, and ironically, what I really needed (freedom).
So even though my vision of the future is clouded, I can go through these times peacefully assured that if I put my reliance in the Lord, everything will be provided for me. And it won’t be the objects of my wanting but the objects of my true desire.
This entry is the direct result of listening to Dismantle.Repair. lyrics by Anberlin. Namely these lyrics:
It’s not that I hang on every word.
I hang myself on what You repeat.
It’s not that I keep hanging on.
I’m never letting go!