God has been teaching me a lot about my own dependence lately. I don’t know about you but I can easily believe the lie that I am self-sustaining. And I can even wear that as a badge of honor sometimes. Two years ago I bought a house and I can remember the desire I had to do it on my own. I didn’t want help figuring out the paperwork. I didn’t want help hanging stuff on the walls. I didn’t want help. I wanted this decision to be all mine. Even as I write this I cringe a little at how selfish it sounds or how obviously impossible those desires were.
I needed help. SO MUCH. Friends helped me pack my things and unpack them. My parents helped me understand the legal documents. My grandparents bought me a kitchen table…I was surrounded by people who both saw my need and wanted to help but I could feel myself prickle up when people asked. I would think they didn’t think I could do it myself.
Fast forward a couple of years, some friends and I decided to start having Sabbath (which means to rest) dinners. We set aside work. We stop thinking about to-dos. We prepare a meal and read books aloud or play games or laugh about quite literally nothing. It is a breath of fresh air. Without knowing it, taking part in this Sabbath dinner began to combat my ideas about independence. Rest is a clear and inevitable example of our dependence. We need it. And that is how God intended it. A book called Theology of the Ordinary by Julie Canlis works on dispelling the lies that God’s command to me and you is to be independent. In fact, she says, “The limitations that are part of us being ‘not-God’ were intended to keep us close and in relationship with God.”
I thought that my need for people or desire for help was a weakness in my independence. Instead, it has become a call to worship and connection to The One whom I am completely dependent on.
What are the lies you believe?
Do you slip into thinking you can do it all?
Do you slip into believing you are better off alone?
Do you find yourself thinking that rest is for the weak and unmotivated?
Do you allow yourself to stay at arm’s length with the Church in case it gets too personal?
Every Friday night that we sit down to Sabbath dinner we read a prayer from a liturgy book called Every Moment Holy. One of the lines reads,
May this shared meal, and our pleasure in it, bear witness against the artifice and deceptions of the prince of the darkness that would blind this world to hope. May it strike at the root of the lie that would drain life of meaning, and the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.
Father, may we lay down the deception of independence and, with great joy, Sabbath in the commitment to dependence made perfect in Christ.