Monday, July 22, 2013

Living a Dependent Life

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I learnt independence at an early age. I got myself around by walking and catching public transport (as early as 10 years old), and entertained myself in my own worlds of sports and stories.

My two brothers and sister similarly were very independent growing up. Even though we’d come together regularly, we all cherished our alone time.

I’ve found it interesting my two boys are very dependent on others for entertainment and activity. Now that isn’t a bad thing at all. However, I’ve often struggled with their dependence and prided myself on my ability to get things done by myself.

“Many people view dependence as a despicable condition, so they strive to be as self-sufficient as possible.”1

BAM!

Yep, that’s me. I’ve prided myself on my self-sufficiency.

It reminded me of some other words Sarah Young wrote in “Jesus Calling”:

“In the world, dependence is seen as immaturity. But in My kingdom, dependence on Me is a prime measure of maturity”2

As is so common with matters of God, He turns what the world accepts as reasonable, upside down.

Self-sufficiency has become habitual for me. And that’s a problem. I’ve been grappling writing the follow-up to Angelguard. I’ve got the story, the characters and the general outline. But the words just won’t come out the way I want them to.

So what do I do? I seek to find answers, to solve the problem myself. Do more research, study new writing methods, you name it.

But none of that works.

Like Children

In Matthew 18:1-4 as Jesus is talking to the disciples He makes this statement:

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Hmmm, become like children? What attribute of childhood could Jesus be referring to?

Dependence?

Children (especially when very little) need their mums and dads for everything. All the time, everyday. In addition, children:
  • are eager to believe (I still remember how distraught I was when I was told Santa Claus wasn’t real),
  • possess a readiness to receive, and
  • have a willingness to love and be loved. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Jesus didn’t just come to save us but also to be the example by which we should live. He demonstrated how to live like a child:

“The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”(John 14:10)

A lifestyle based on being dependent on the Father.

“This is not My way for you! I designed you to need Me continually – and to delight in that neediness.”3

A few years ago, a pastor prophesied over me one of many very well know verses from the Psalms:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 27:4)

Initially I focused on the second half of that verse. Fabulous, I’m going to receive the desires of my heart. Yippee!

Now I’m realizing to step into the prophecy (and write a half-decent manuscript) I need to let go of the desires and start delighting.

In Him.

No delighting, no receiving desires.

Oh, and about my writing. I’ve recently started meeting with a couple of guys from church who are passionate writers. This opportunity came out of the blue (God does that!) and it’s filled me with such positive refreshment.

And the manuscript is motoring along. I believe God loves the collaborative process. If we’re writing for Him, then He’s joined us in the process. If we’re depending on our own abilities, then He'll be there for the journey but the outcome within our hearts isn’t going to be nearly as significant.

What do you do to delight in the Lord? How do you keep yourself in a dependent state? I’d love you to share.

Notes: 1. “Jesus Today” Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson 2012, p 212. 2. “Jesus Calling” Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson 2004, p183. 3. “Jesus Today” p212


Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

16 comments:

  1. Such a good challenge to read first thing on a Monday morning, Ian! May you continue to delight yourself in the Lord--and in meeting with those two other writer guys God has provided for you.

    When writing my very first novel, I remember sitting in front of my computer and praying out loud, 'God, is this how you write? Is this how I'm supposed to do this?'! Six novels and one non-fiction book later, I find I still need God so close to me as I write. I usually leave my bible open beside me on my desk so I can look back from time to time during the day and remind myself how God spoke to me through it that morning. And I find I'm always having little conversations with God in my head, whether writing or preparing talks. How blessed are we to have God's Spirit with us at all times, a la Psalm 139!

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    1. Jo-Anne, love that you keep the Bible so handy ...

      Your productivity is a wonderful testimony of the Lord's guiding hand. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  2. Hi Ian - I agree with Jo. What a great post for a Monday morning. I have today off work and am about to start Chap 9 of the novel. It's been a long time coming and I've been stuck for a while. But if we're dependent on God and not ourselves, He'll show us how to use the gifts He's given us. Ps 37:4 is one of my favourite verses. Like you, I used to focus on the last part. But if we seek Him first, we'll also find our desires changing to be more in line with His. May He bless you abundantly this week.

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    1. Nola, your post last week was a good prompt for me to share this one this week. I'll be praying for you as you tackle Chap 9 this week. May you experience a breakthrough.

      Blessings,

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    2. Thanks Ian. I did manage to finish Chap 9. Now for No. 10 :)

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  3. Thanks Ian.
    Glad to hear about your writing group and the way God is encouraging you as you practice dependence on him.
    A good reminder and encouragement for me this morning also.

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    1. Thanks Penny for your support and encouragement.

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  4. Me too, Ian, Jo, Nola & Penny!!

    I think I'm a mix of being dependent and self-sufficient...is that possible? Perhaps it depends what I'm tackling at the time.

    I find the best encouragement comes from the Lord, but to have helpful friends is a very, very big bonus! The Lord's special prompting in answer to prayer plus constructive criticism is so valuable for Christian writers of novels in any genre.

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    1. How right you are Rita about the constructive criticism. My 2 writing buddies have already been a great guide in helping me re-think certain key elements of my story.

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  5. Great post Ian. And great topic too. I tended to be someone who was too dependent on other people - so God has been teaching me over the years that I needed to be dependent - on no one but HIM! And as you aptly described - that's one of the beautiful aspects of a child. We do need one another though don't we? So am glad to hear of your writers group which I know will bless each other and bless the world.

    As for Psalm 37:4 - it's one I have found God encouraging me with over the years. In fact the whole of Psalm 37 is one that has spoken to me many many times and challenged me and encouraged me. I studied it afresh a few days ago! :)

    As for the delighting part - for me it means simply that I spend more time with Him. It's a challenge since a million things grab my attention each day. But God wants me to make my time with Him a huge priority. A few meaningful hours with Him every day is the ideal. But when I can't do that - to engage with Him as often as I could! And I've taken up the challenge!

    Thanks for your great post Ian!
    Many blessings,
    Anusha

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    1. What lovely encouragement, Anusha. Thank you. And may you (and all of us) set aside quality time each day to be with the Lord.

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  6. Another thanks, Ian!
    I have a variation of Ps.37:4 above my desk: "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." (Ps. 62:5) We can't have enough reminders of becoming increasingly more dependent :)
    I am really glad that your writers' group is such an inspiration to you.

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    1. Margaret, great verse... we do find it difficult to wait on Him, but it is so worth it. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. A couple of days late. Psalm 37 is one of my favourite psalms. I love the idea of the reciprocal relationship in that as we delight in Him He answers our hearts desires but if we are delighting in Him they are more likely to be in tune with His desires for us anyway.

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    1. Hi Dale, yes, having His desires is the way to go isn't it? Kinda why need to delight in Him and wait on Him as Margaret mentions above. It's great knowing we are all works-in-progress so we can keep working at both of these.

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  8. Hi Ian,
    It is particularly challenging when an attribute such as self-sufficiency is one which is approved of by the world around us. That makes it hard to realise that it's even a problem sometimes. Good blog post.

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