I believe self sufficiency is a stealer.
It’s a stealer of connection, of trust, of surrender, of freedom. When we can problem solve every scenario for ourselves we block our ability to trust others, to include others in our challenges. Most importantly, we block our ability to include God in our life. Self sufficiency allows us to place ourselves in a position we should never be in, a selfish and limiting one that lets us be addicted to control. It makes us believe we have full control over our outcomes, our circumstances when we really don’t.
If you want to allow others into your life, you cannot feed self sufficiency. If you want God to be a part of your life, you cannot feed self sufficiency. If you want to practice facing difficult things with resiliency, you cannot feed self sufficiency.
We have created the illusion that the faster and more effective we are in solving our own problems, the more effective we are as a human being.
When cancer becomes a part of your life, there is no place for self sufficiency. I cannot treat my cancer, I have no idea how to do that. There is no way for me to be self sufficient right now. I want to live and I am dependent on my medical team to help me accomplish that. I listen to what they recommend and I do it, as uncomfortable as it can be sometimes. The motivation is strong, I want to be here and I can’t do that by myself.
The truth is, we don’t have as much control as we think we do and there is peace in accepting that. It isn’t raising the white flag and giving up. It’s holding your hands out and receiving in.
This became so clear to me on a cool, fall day that I spent with my friend Julie.
Every conversation, every moment feels precious. Julie has been given a timeline.
She doesn’t have the luxury of planning ahead. Breast cancer has visited her again and this time the doctors are shaking their head, experimenting with treatment in hopes to buy her as much time as they can. Unexpected, unwanted plans for her life. Dreams unrealized, hopes unmet, she lives in a space where she has little control. Julie, as long as I have known her, has been an energetic, capable, life giving woman. She cannot fix her circumstance but she can fix her focus and that is what she is doing.
“I’m focused on my legacy. I want my kids and my grandkids to know that I love them. I want them to have good memories with me. Most of all, I want to point them to Jesus. I believe in getting the best care, but ultimately God’s in charge of what happens. I’m walking by faith. I want the reliance I have on God to be seen. It’s all about my relationship with God.”
“Decide what is important,” she told me, “and don’t worry about the little things. Don’t worry what people will think of you. It is all about your relationship with God.”
“We don’t have control. You can have all the spreadsheets in the world with your plans on them and one conversation happens and it all goes out the window.” She said as she described the plans she and her husband Doug had for their life that are no longer in their grasp.
Julie knows that the greatest gift anyone could ever receive is knowing God. Knowing His peace, His calm, His comfort. Let Julie be an example to us all, and as life unfolds in front of us may we open our hands and hearts to what it brings. When it brings us something we do not want or understand, may we resist the urge to be self sufficient but instead open ourselves to receive all that is around us.
“I want as much time as I can with my family. I believe God chose me to work a miracle. Really, I do. Ultimately, I am not afraid whenever the end comes and I’m looking forward to meeting Jesus in heaven. I want to point people to Him at the end, whenever that is.”
Julie Chitwood September 2020