(Destiny’s Child- Independent Women)
“Question: Tell me what you think about me
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Only ring your cell-y when I’m feelin lonely
When it’s all over please get up and leave
Question: Tell me how you feel about this
Try to control me boy you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships….
All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me”
All the women (and men) who are independent, throw your hands up at me. Now keep them up if you enjoy being in this place. Yeah, keep them up if you like being 50/50 in relationships. If you like using relationships to aide your loneliness, and then resort to self-sufficiency when you ‘feel better’- raise them extra high. Some of you can quote this song word for word, because this used to be the jam. It was my jam too! I remember when it came out. I remember singing it extra loud with my girls, and leaving it on repeat. Secretly it had become a more extreme version of my life’s theme song.
When I listen to it now, I hear nothing but pride in its purest form. I see Eve, wrapped in the deception of the serpent who is telling her that it’s ok to choose what makes her feel good. “You don’t need anyone to help you choose. You can make your own decisions. There’s no one here to help you make your decisions, any way. So you have to make them yourself. You don’t need Adam, and you definitely don’t need God cause he’s holding out on you. All you need is you.” I feel Eve’s perspective shift. She accepted the lie, and via birth we have carried the burdens ever since.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it….” (Genesis 3:4-6)
For years many people have crowned me with congratulations for being ‘such an independent /strong young woman’. I took so much pride in that statement, as if it was something that I should boast in. I danced, rejoiced, and found my confidence in that; every achievement reinforced my pride. I never once told them that Jesus was the source of my stability and strength. In high school I was the first black Student Body President (of a majority white school in a small town) and Senior Class Treasure (I didn’t even think to get into student politics until I was a junior). I was on National Honor Society, Jr and Varsity Volleyball, Symphonic Orchestra, A Cappella Choir, Operetta, Photography Editor (Junior) and Editor-in-Chief (Senior) of the Yearbook, and more. I moved to Chicago for college, and have moved through life with many successes. I engulfed myself in activities! I was so impressed with how well I was able to manage them, and grateful that they distracted me from dealing with life’s pains. Truthfully, it was so much fun! And even though I was not following Christ (I believed that He was real), He gave me tremendous grace to do it. At the same time, I had been scorned for showing weakness, and dared to cry, looked down upon for asking for help, and bitten by the hand that provided the help. I have humbly accepted help not knowing that it had conditions/motives attached to it. All these things I have used, until the point of my revelation, to justify my need to rely on myself.
I’m so glad that at this stage Jesus Christ is really my Lord, and my Savior. He has allowed some rather harsh circumstances to take their course to expose and deliver my independent-self. Many times he allowed my successes to end. For example, in 2008 I lost my great paying job. I had never lost a job before in my life. I figured this is not a problem. Hello, I know people! I’ll get a job in no time, and I did. It just didn’t last very long. Then I decided that I would start a business with a friend that failed before it officially started (Thank You Jesus for letting that fail). It didn’t matter how much I tried to do things myself, how many calls I made, they all failed. I had to learn to depend on people for the first time. Even better… are the people I had to rely on that really didn’t want to help me. Humility wet the adhesive on the back of its image and found a perfect spot in my personal dictionary. Now, I can rejoice over the pain of that time.
Now allow me to drench all of that with some Truth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not know of a book in the Bible that upholds independence as something to be achieved. In fact it always led to destruction (we already know what happened to Eve). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should not be responsible in life, or that you should be totally reliant on everyone else to take care of you. The Bible does not condone laziness either.
“…if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
I’m saying that if you are in Christ Jesus your dependency is in him.
“So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. (Galatians 3:9 MSG Bible)
Jesus who was, both, God and man didn’t operate on his own doing. What makes us think that we are able to do so?
“So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.” (John 5:19 MSG Bible)
The very root of independence is pride and selfishness. It makes me think of a toddler who constantly proclaims, “I can do it myself!” The baby is fully convinced that he/she can do whatever it is, and repeats that phrase out loud as they proceed. The parent steps back to observe, yet steps in before the massive mess is made. After the baby admits his/her failure the parent says, “Now will you let me do it?” That is what our Father is saying to us, will you let Me do it? Will you let Him be Lord over your life, and in every area? Will you trust Him? Unfortunately, we often treat Jesus the same way that we treat people based off of our experiences. In most cases we don’t blatantly tell God that we don’t need his help. We express it by the way we live; our mentality. Such was my life as I found out.
It took four years for me to establish my independence in my life. I pledged allegiance to it, and based my life on it. Now I commit treason against my flesh. My deception has been removed and I see clearly. I was never doing “it” all along. It was my Savior, Jesus Christ giving me the grace and ability to succeed. I pledge allegiance to my dependence on Him first, the body of believers, and one day to my spouse as well.
If you can identify yourself in my testimony in any way, shape, or form: I, first, pray that you will understand/receive revelation that this lifestyle will lead to destruction. It gives birth to unhealthy relationships, insecurity, false perception of self, instability of emotions, extreme loneliness, and more. Secondly, I pray that you will understand that you don’t need to be self sufficient, and that you were never created to be alone/lacking the love of the Father and people in your life. Lastly, I pray that His love and Truth will lead you to repentance. Below is a prayer that is similar to the prayer I prayed. Say it out loud and release this to the Lord so that he can restore you and so that you can be free (Gal. 5:1) When you are done, share your decision with your brother or sister in Christ. They will be able to pray and hold you accountable. Love you!
Everything that you do/allow in my life is good! Thank you for revealing the pride and selfishness in my heart that deceived me into believing that I could be self-sufficient. Please forgive me for it, Lord. I had taken into account every life experience (good and bad) and was convinced that I didn’t need you or anyone else in my life to be happy. I realized that I either blatantly confessed it or expressed it through my lifestyle. It is a lie that became a weight that was too heavy for me to bear. So you took it upon yourself and carried it to the cross.
I am now ready to receive your Lordship and provided direction in my life. Thank you for restoring my relationships from 50/50 to their rightful place. Thank you for filling the whole in my heart-that I tried to fill with things, money, power, activities, etc. Thank you for the great plan that you have for my me, as you have stated in Jeremiah 29:11. Thank you for your promise of all things being added to me as I seek ye first the kingdom of God and your righteousness (Matt 6:33). I will acknowledge you in all my ways, knowing that you will direct my path (Prov. 3:6). I love you and thank you for your grace that gives me the strength to pledge allegiance to my dependency on you.