entitlement-independence-or-faith

Entitlement, Independence or Faith?

I’ve had some interactions recently which has resulted in my mind trying to ‘scratch an itch’.

These interactions were with people who have a ‘greater level of faith’ than I do. While they could benefit from having an increase of money to pay some bills, they are not feeling any urgency to increase the level of work in ways that could bring some income. Others in the family are taking on extra jobs to reduce the tension. (And are seen as not having faith that God will take care of them.) When a bill is paid, this is seen as evidence that their perspective is accurate and the rest of us need to examine our level of trust in God.

Other interactions were in regards to pain-filled and messy situations, along with an urgent insistence that God ‘come through’ and fix it. Some were displayed in a ‘name it and claim it’ approach. And others with an anger that God does not ‘come through’ for them. Yet upon closer observation, while the situations are a God-size problem, there may be other aspects it would be to wise to reflected upon for a broader understanding. Life patterns may exist from unattended childhood trauma or lack of maturity development that contribute to the problems.

I suspect that in addition to ‘having faith in God’, at times other dynamics are going on. Do we at times ‘pull the faith card’ in order to avoid doing hard things? To avoid entering into situations that would result in unpleasant emotions? To avoid self-examination?
Do we have a lurking sense of entitlement that God needs to ‘come through for us’ in order to prove His promise of caring for us?

Along with bringing our cares to our God who cares for us, would it not be wise to bring along hearts of self reflection as to what our part in the problem and solution might be?

The quote “Don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.” comes to mind. God is not co-dependent with us. He desires for us to grow up into individuals that can navigate the hard times this world gives. He is not gong to ‘rescue’ us inappropriately. It would be to our detriment if He ‘clipped our wings’ through doing for us what He wants us to be involved in. He will allow us to be challenged in hard things in ways that contribute to our development without traumatizing us.

I, on the other hand, tend to push into taking care of myself and life’s situations from a weak reliance of our caring God. From a childhood where I was pushed to be overly self-reliant at a very young age, and tragically ‘in the name of God’, I became overly independent. Growing up in a boarding school without having supportive adult interaction left me with an internal stance of ‘having faith’ in myself more than God. I did not develop a comfort zone in asking for help from others, including God. It was my (wrong) understanding that God was wanting me to be a ‘big girl’ and be able to care for myself beyond my years.

Recognizing this to be overly simplistic, it seems to me that those who developed an anxious attachment pattern tend to live out of a sense of entitlement, wanting God to step in and ‘fix it’. This is more out of insecurity and fear rather than actual faith.
And those of us who developed a dismissive attachment pattern tend to live independent of God rather than from faith in our God who desires to be involved with every concern of our lives.

Being independent reveals our lack of faith and reliance on Him.
Being codependent reveals our lack of faith in a different way, not relying on His help as we engage in the hard things.

Our God desires our living in interdependency with Him. Is not faith actually referring to our relationship with an all-wise God who wants to relate with us with our best interest in mind?

May we all grow in our interacting with Him from a place of self-awareness, having His guidance as to what is His part and what is ours in every situation!

1 Comment

  1. Lois Easley on July 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for this, Maribeth. I have often wondered what exactly is “my part” and what should I leave to God. Jesus calls us to huge trust in our Heavenly Father–but also challenges us to be faithful and wise stewards. It is not easy to sort out, but I know becoming over-anxious about it all is the opposite of trusting too! I feel a great weight of responsibility most of the time because I’ve been enormously blessed in this life–both spiritually and otherwise–with plenty of troubles too, as we all experience. Sometime it seems as if choosing to have more time (and less income) is wise–when it is not placing an undue burden on other family members. Being able to invest that time well (for other “bottom lines” than financial ones) can be the right choice for some.

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