The Trap of Self-Sufficiency

Have you ever tried to do something that requires two people, but somehow convince yourself you can do it alone? Yep, me too.

Many years ago, we were moving from the Bay Area in California up to the Sacramento area. All in all it’s about a 2 – hour drive and we tackled the move by making several small trips. While my husband was at work one day, I decided I would dismantle the crib and begin to pack up some furniture and clothes to take to our new home.

He cautioned me to wait for him to come home and that I really shouldn’t do it by myself. He should know he put the thing together, but I thought how hard could it be?
I wanted to prove to him and myself that I could do it on my own. I needed to prove to myself that I was more than just a mom and that I was capable of more than just making meals and doing laundry.

I didn’t need or want his help. I wanted to do it. I would show him what I could do by myself. So I set about gathering the tools, turned on some music and got to work. I managed to get all the screws out with ease and even got a few of the pieces removed.

And then it happened.

Just as I was bending over to pull the bottom bracket away from the side rail, I felt something snap. It was not the crib. It was me. More specifically, it was my back. I instantly fell into a heap on the floor. Writhing in pain, I lay on the floor motionless and trying to simply breath through the pain.

I lay there for an hour or more. Tears running down my cheeks. I cried tears of pain, and tears of shame. In my insistence of doing this job myself, I denied my husband the opportunity to help me. Further more I put myself at risk by choosing to ignore the warnings.

Self – sufficiency is a trap.

It lures us into the ideal that we can take care of things on our own. It taunts and calls to us that we SHOULD be able to do it on our own and further more it reinforces and reaffirms our twisted sense of self, when are successful in our super Herculean tasks that we take on by ourselves.

Self – sufficiency can leave us lying on the floor, isolated and helpless if we give it too much power in our lives. Over time we can distort the need to be self- sufficient to the extent we find ourselves unable and unwilling to accept help or admit need.

We were made for relationship, for connection, for fellowship and intimacy.
When we wrap ourselves in the cloak of self-sufficiency, we communicate to others that we are unavailable and unapproachable, which leaves us isolated and alone.

Self – sufficiency is a double-edged sword. Initially intended to protect, it becomes heavy and burdensome and eventually becomes a prison.
Luckily for us God has provided help. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and to set us free from the captivity of self-sufficiency.

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3 thoughts on “The Trap of Self-Sufficiency

  1. Kimberly says:

    Hi Karen. I’m new to your blog (via a comment you left on Jeff Goins’ site). I wanted to send you a private email but there’s no contact page here. (Unless I missed it.) Help! 😉

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