It seems I am a toddler at heart.
I can do it all by myself!
For the past 8 years or so, my fabulous husband has been on a mission to get me to a higher plane of self-sufficiency. He has enabled me to see past the perceived need of tents, bulky food, trails, most cooking utensils, and much more. I have been able to learn that I truly need very little to survive in fairly comfortable environment that I can create for myself.
This self-sufficiency fed into my deep desires to be independent. I have wanted independence from something or someone since I could remember. While growing up this manifested itself in wanting independence from my family, whether in name or actual physical location! As I grew, my goals were very centered on creating an independent persona for myself - all by myself. I was going to be someone people would admire, wonder, wish they were, etc. I was going to do this all alone. All through school, even through college, I detested group projects. I felt as though they were a socialistic standard that only served to bring me down to average, which I truly aspired to be above. I thrived when I finally got to do my relatively independent study for my Horticulture degree. It fit me perfectly! I got all the credit!
Even now, I feel tremendous satisfaction in completing a project or tackling a problem successfully on my own. Just tonight, I was changing the water filter in our crawl space (more like a stoop-space), and as I was opening the water line back up, water began to pour out the pressure relief button. This was no exaggeration. It was pouring out. (Did I mention we are supposed to have a showing this weekend? No? Well, yes, this added to my panic!) As I shut off the water and pushed my panic into a box in my proverbial emotional shelf, I realized that the button was likely gunked up (yes, I made up that word) by some sediment. Fortunately, I had just sprayed a thrip-covered petunia with a soap/water mix that I thought may help along with some Q-tips. I went ahead and texted my man just in case he had any other thoughts! In the end, I was able to clean out the valve and stop the leak, averting the crisis. I was quite proud of myself!
Then I remembered that we aren't supposed to do anything by ourselves.
Jesus Himself said:
"'I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.'" John 5:19
"'For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.'" John 6:38
"'My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me."' John 7:16
"'I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me - he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.'" John 8:28b-29
"'At my Father's direction I have done many good works.'" John 10:32a
"'I don't speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.'" John 12:49-50
Now, I don't want to take this all out of context and say that I cannot do anything, ever, on my own. I do believe that God gives us challenges that only we must go through, but am I by myself? No. I'm not. I have to admit that when I was putting the filter back on that last time, I was praying that God would seal it and keep it from leaking. Not only does He help in moments like these, but He uses these situations to bring us into a deeper reliance on Him.
Sometimes, He desires us to draw upon our community for support. Earlier today I had a dentist appointment. That may not sound that big to some of you, but I have had less than stellar dentist appointments in my day and I have a tendency to get a bit panicked. My jaw locks up and hurts when they put the block in, I almost always have sinus drainage that collects in the back of my throat, and that doesn't help my claustrophobic tendencies which cause me to have brief panic attacks thinking I can't breathe, and gosh darn it: it hurts!
So anyway, I humbled myself and asked for my group and my mom to pray for me today. Mom's are great for that, aren't they?! I admit that I felt rather silly asking for prayer for something fairly trivial. I should surely be able to get through this by myself. I was reminded of what a privilege it was to be able to see a dentist at all, but I was still not looking forward to my fillings. Today I felt so thankful for those prayers and support. I prayed for me and the dentist throughout the appointment, and I felt a calm and relaxation that was foreign to me in that place before now, and I know it was due to the prayer support. The dentist seemed to feel the need for urgency and made the appointment go quickly. I now have a molar that no longer has the metal filling, but a composite one, along with a little extra that needed to be filled. It was as pleasant an appointment as it could have been. I didn't even feel the shots, though it looked as though I'd had a stroke for the next 5 hours. I kept hoping I wasn't drooling. I digress...
I had just had an experience where the coming together of sisters had blessed me, and yet I was still determined to find pride in doing things by myself! My problem stems not from the ability God has given me to accomplish things like fixing a leaky pressure relief valve, but in taking the full credit. I am so thankful that God has worked in me and used my husband to teach me how to take care of things. Jesus, who was God's own Son, again and again reminded us that even He relied on the Father for direction and strength and then gave the glory back to Him. It was never about Jesus' story alone. He didn't do it all by Himself, and I don't want to either.