Living a Dependent Life


Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic/

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


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?


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.

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

8 replies
  1. Joanne Marsh
    Joanne Marsh says:

    Timing Ian! I just thought to myself today…I think about God A LOT! I can’t believe how I used to just totally IGNORE Him!? Not a day goes by now that I don’t talk to Him, think of Him, involve Him, pray to Him, walk with Him, sing to Him. Now don’t picture me walking around in a monk’s habit with my head bowed and hands clasped 24/7! I’m just very aware that God is real and that I can talk to Jesus all day long if I desire and I acknowledge now the Holy Spirit guides me. I think since losing my Hero I have drawn even closer to God in need of His comfort and He has drawn closer to me with such astounding proof of His presence I can’t help but be dependent on Him for all my needs. Every breath I take, every beat of my heart. Thank You Jesus!

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Joanne, what a wonderful testimony. I should have asked you to write this post. It’s great how you are pressing into the Lord.

      One of my struggles is I get too me-focused, so I take my eyes off Jesus. So I get too self-absorbed which drives independence. But following your example will help us all to stay Jesus-focused.

      Thanks Joanne for sharing once again. I so appreciate your faithfulness to my small corner of the blogosphere. 🙂

  2. Dineen Miller
    Dineen Miller says:

    Such a great post, Ian. I was a latch key kid so I learned independence and self sufficiency out of necessity from about age 7 on. Only in the last 5 years or so have I truly started to me all that go and trust God. It’s freeing and scary all at once. LOL!

  3. Cherie Gagnon
    Cherie Gagnon says:

    Ian…great post! I once prided my self on my independence…then I had two kids with disabilities. It was and still is a struggle to see the beauty of interdependence and community. My sister has been reading a lot about Christian community and what God intended. Jean Vanier has some terrific books about it.

    Independence is so highly praised in 1st world countries…but poorer countries can have a more “village” perspective on life that is so beautiful.

    Thanks for opening up on this topic.

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Cherie, I like your perspective about interdependence and community. My church life is typically independent too which isn’t what church community is really about, I guess.

      Thanks for the referral. I’ll sure check out Jean’s work.

  4. Melissa Tagg
    Melissa Tagg says:

    Ian, I am reading this a few days late, but oh, it resonated with me today! I’ve got a bit of an independent streak for sure…dependency is something I have to work to nurture. But I love that line from Jesus Calling about God creating us to need him…I’m actually fighting the way I was created when I try to be self-sufficient!

    Thanks for the challenge and encouragement!

    • Ian
      Ian says:

      Great to have you along, Melissa. Makes 2 of us fighting. For me, self-sufficiency seems so natural as it’s all I’ve known. Incredible to think deep inside us is this need for dependence.

      I have great hope though we can surrender our independence if we let it go bit by bit everyday.


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