Ms. Independent … and a Little Too Proud of It
I am really not a team player by nature. I enjoy taking on challenges by myself and proving that I can do it all. I dreaded team projects in school, since I knew that I would usually end up doing all the work anyways. Whenever I was a leader in a youth group, I would get assigned a co-leader. I would think mature, Christian thoughts like: I don’t need her. I would do this a lot better on my own… (Wouldn’t you love to be a co-leader with me? *Note sarcasm.) To top it all off, these other leaders were always sweet, demure, quiet girls that I usually felt like I was trampling all over with my boisterous, ridiculously loud self.
To go along with this “I don’t want to be part of a team” attitude, I also don’t really want a coach, either. I know, the rabbit hole just goes deeper. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good speaker, mentor. You can teach me all day, but don’t coach me. Tell me some Truth, let me mull it over, but don’t get in my face. You get me? Explain Christian truths in general, but don’t point out my sin specifically. Frankly, it ain’t none of yo bidness.
When I was dating my husband, he critiqued me on something (I don’t even remember what) and I remember telling him, “I know why you are dating me. You just wanted a challenge. You just want to change me.” To which he said something to the effect of, “You’re crazy” and shut the door in my face. I broke up with him not too long after that. I thought he was the most amazing, godly man I had ever met, but if we got married, I was sure that we’d kill each other. He was the only guy that I had ever dated that would call me out when I was in the wrong. I really hated him for it!
Because this bold, hyper-independent attitude has gotten me into trouble so many times, it just cemented the fact that I didn’t need anyone else. I was capable. It felt great to do it all and get all the glory. Now, here’s the deal; this just isn’t Scriptural at all! Solomon said,
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid” (Pr. 12:1).
Wow. Well, there you have it. Put that on your refrigerator! I am stupid. Or more specifically, prideful independence is stupid. We are made for community and to avoid considering feedback is foolish. God Himself is community as the trinity. We are the BODY of Christ, but guess what?
Other people take work. Other people are often messy and drain time and energy. However, the Bible never commends independence. We are made to be dependent: dependent upon God and interdependent with community. We are made to serve. We are made for MORE than what we can accomplish on our own. Any other mindset is scripturally foolish. You know why I don’t want other people getting into my business? Of course you do! It is because I don’t want to look at my sin and change. I want to continue to do the sinful things that make me such a mess of a woman.
It is hard to accept other people’s criticism. It is hard to change. It is difficult to admit we are wrong or have room for improvement, but that is where God begins to craft and shape us. When we are humble, that’s when we are finally honest and really usable. Humility hears. If we can be malleable to God and flexible to take others thoughts into consideration, then we can now connect, really connect, and serve at a deeper level.
Satan loves for us to dismiss the other voices in our lives. He wants us to stop listening to our Christian friends, parents, mentors, and of course, the Lord. When we dismiss everyone else, the only person speaking into our lives is our own selfishness paired with the devil himself. Did you catch that? Satan wants us to stop listening to everyone else, so that we are only listening to him. Blah!
The mark of Christian maturity is not that we never sin but that we are teachable. Prideful vanity is repulsive to the Lord. It is the devil’s playground. The next time someone, even your enemy, critiques you, take it before the Lord. Is a portion of it true?
A good friend of mine recently got her feelings hurt because her 3 year old told her that he didn’t like her. Ummm… I wouldn’t take my advice from a preschooler, especially one that’s tired and cranky. Don’t get hung up on hurtful words that are only meant to be that- hurtful. Filter those, of course. But, on the flip-side, don’t dismiss little truths along the way, because you want to hold on to your comfortable self and sin.
I am now a part of Shabby Chic Ministries which is a team of women from different backgrounds and cultures that loves the same, precious Jesus. Frequently, someone from the group will pipe up and say, “We’re stronger together.” It’s true, and this adage has spilled into my personal life. See, that same man I dated (and plotted his future murder) is now the love of my life that I come to with all of my garbage. He carries my burdens and gently helps guide me. I build him up and support him. We are also stronger together!
We are all pretending a bit. Pretending that we have it all together and live perfect, Facebook-worthy-posting lives. We hide behind our independence, behind our screen facades, behind our pride. The great news? We’re all screw-ups saved by God’s grace. If we’d listen more, filter and accept the constructive criticism and change, we would be more effective for God’s kingdom. Not to mention, it’s more fun when we’re together.
by Angel Angell with Shabby Chic Ministries
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Think about it:
Are you wrestling with the Lord about something?
Is there some advice you wonder whether or not you should follow?