Fatal flaw of Self-Sufficiency

Self-sufficiency is a faith-buster.

This runs contrary to scripture. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

It screams “I have more faith in my situation than I do in God’s character.

It destroys the missional heart.

Yet it ranks at the top of our cultures’ goals. Financial investments, job security, retirement funds … the words of self-sufficiency.

God created us for relationship. We have deep longings for impact and intimacy…with God and with others. Self-sufficiency by definition relies on no one. Ultimately, it leads to a void of trusted relationships. Resultant feelings of loneliness and isolation cause anxiety and fear.

Relationships fallen short in our self-sufficient life leave us profoundly empty. We have nothing to give. We then look to our subscribed friends and loved ones to care for us, be ever-present. But this unhealthy goal of demanding others to fill our relationship needs  ultimately lead to anger, inadequacy or increased anxiety.

Slaying Self-Sufficiency

We must first acknowledge our need for God and become the dependent people we were created to be.

Next, we need to confess our lack of faith. Scripture reveals attitributes of God as omnipotent, omnipresent, and loving. He is caring, ever-present, and our provider. We are called upon to surrender our will to the Almighty God of the universe.

We must trust and rely on the Lord, first and foremost.

An interview in Discipleship Journal quotes Brennan Manning about godly trust: “Fear is the enemy of trust. And fear operates in so many ways in our lives. Many of our actions are rooted in needing to live up to the unspoken judgments of others, and trying to live up to who we ought to be. We do this rather than trusting God and relaxing in the brokenness of who we really are.”

We need to move into healthy relationships with one another. When we can recognize our brokenness and approach one another in humility, the shell of self-sufficiency will begin to crack. However … a balance must be reached. Total reliance on human beings will set us up for disappointment on the other extreme. A crumbling self results.

Rebuilding the Foundation

Loneliness and emptiness will pass away when we can wholeheartedly say “I belong to God.”

Self-sufficiency is released and God is held on to. This profound shift is a move into maturity. Brokenness is realized and dependency shifts to God. It deepens our walk with God and lessens the fear we feel that we don’t have control.

Lord, help us to drive out the foolishness that we can live on our own!

Calling the Question

Do you pray when financial adversity strikes? Or do you check your bank account?

Do you seek wise counsel of others when your spouse, children or parents are in crisis? Or do you resolve to solve it personally at all costs?

Do you search scripture when answers seem elusive? Or do you list personal pro’s and con’s for a tallied answer?

If prayer and seeking counsel do not come to mind first, self-sufficiency may be your guiding hand.

Slay self-sufficiency by humbly trusting in the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind.

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover

Photo credit: walker_M of istockphoto.com

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About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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11 Responses to Fatal flaw of Self-Sufficiency

  1. Pingback: Discover the Difference between Wants and Needs | a Journal of Missional Living

  2. marneymcnall says:

    Our pastor at Seacoast just did a sermon on this subject last week. Can it be any clearer to me that this is something I need to focus on? It’s too easy to seek validation from others rather than God.

  3. sharon Srock says:

    Sharon, your post was spot on. With my husband seld employed in the construction industry, the last three years have been an excercise in faith. God has never failed to make a way.

  4. Very nice. God is in everything, helping us, guiding us. Nice post

  5. Love this, Sharon! We all need to remind ourselves of this frequently. It is not something to be confessed once and expect it to to last. Every single day, “even while peeling potatoes”, we must renew this commitment to “Trust in the Lord with all our heart…” in EVERY situation, praying to, and advising with, our God before every battle. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that HE will provide!

    • Soooo true, Karen! Brother Lawrence’s humility with the potatoes and the daily grind does remind us that the struggles with self never cease. But with joy as you say … our God goes before us in every situation and every battle. Now if I can only remember that … every day!

  6. “I have more faith in my situation than I do in God’s character.” –ouch! You’ve nailed it, Sharon.

    Thanks for challenging us on this and for pointing us back to God.

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