Over the course of life, I’ve often heard the phrase, I’m and independent thinker. I thought that was the goal of everyone as they grew up into adulthood and matured. I think when people say that, they somehow mean that they don’t just go with the flow but they create their own philosophies and beliefs and opinions themselves.
My goal in raising my children was to teach them to learn to think for themselves and yet teach them that God’s Word is the foundation of where all their thinking should filter through so that their thoughts are in harmony with what God thinks. I wanted them to learn to make decisions for themselves as they grew older but tried to be a part of those decisions until they had enough knowledge, maturity, and experience to make them for themselves. Then I released them and worked to stay out of their decision-making process because it was now their life, not mine. My goal from that point was to be the good friend whose ear they wanted to bend and ask what I thought. If I did and do share thoughts with them, I try to tread lightly so I don’t accidentally dominate their thoughts or decisions and push them away. This has helped each of them become a responsible adult that can make quality decisions independently of me – but not independent of God.
My life’s role feels significant to me. As a Pastor, I have many lives I influence and help in a great diversity of ways. I’m fairly confident that I’m seen as a strong leader. I know how to and do think independently, but also flow in unity and cooperation with those I work with to reach mutually desired goals and objectives. Working together with others doesn’t affect my independence. It creates a healthy interdependence. I work with many strong and capable leaders–each one independent thinkers focusing on their areas and people for what is best, yet bringing all that into a larger big-picture plan so that we bring into harmony and effort, all of our thoughts and goals for the good of all we do as a team.
As much as anyone wants to be independent and as cool as it sounds to be so, it can also lead to a narcissistic attitude and way of life. The safe-guard for anyone is to realize how needy each of us are for help and cooperation and compromise in order to do execute life successfully. Learning to think independently and recognize that you are also needy of the input of God and others is not a conflict.
I’m extremely needy! I am needy for God. I am needy for His love. I am needy for His assurance that He is with me and will help me. I am needy for His wisdom because my decisions affect many people and I want to make decisions that help and bless, not hinder and hurt. I was needy for God to help me know the best way to raise my children. I was needy for Him to help me figure out how to make an income that would pay for my children’s schooling, and braces, and a thousand pairs of shoes, and college, and weddings, and so much more. I was needy. I still am. I need His wisdom for every decision and of course the major decisions I am facing. I am also needy for good people in my life. I am needy for particularly gifted people to help me execute some things that lie ahead. I am needy for anointed words from the throne of God for those that need them today. My life doesn’t work without the love and help of others. I am needy!
All this causes me to realize my limitations and the Lordship of Jesus Christ in my life. He is God and I am His son and a son that needs His help. Jesus has made this all possible and I praise Him forever! Because of the repeated assurance of His love and desire to help me, though I know I am needy, I also know He’ll help me and it helps me be more independent in the right ways.
Finally, I am awed that the God of this universe has made Himself so intimate and available always desiring me to bring every need to Him with assurance of His caring and help. I am awed at these words. Philip. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. He gives me the permission slip to be needy and have faith in Him and then strengthens my faith and confidence by these amazing words of assurance. 1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of Him. He said, “This is the confidence…”
This is where the foundation of healthy independence comes from in my life. This is the reality of us all! We can be independent and needy without being in conflict. It’s our life in God!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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