one word: independence
My young adulthood was a constant struggle for me. I came out of college after 6 years (+ one semester off) and found myself with a completed degree but no qualifications for a career. In order to use my degree, I would need to continue on to graduate school and achieve a master’s level before my field of study would be worth anything to an employer. Since my undergraduate years had been so random and misguided, I just couldn’t find the patience for more school. I spent the next few years lamenting my lack of career and found myself living back at my parents’ home with no direction and no marketable skills. I worked a retail job or two, then attempted to make use of my psychology degree by joining a team of counselors in a wilderness camp for emotionally disturbed teens. It didn’t take long to realize that I, myself, wasn’t emotionally equipped to be anyone’s counselor. Again I ended up back at home, and for the next few years I struggled with feelings of failure. In my mind, the issue wasn’t even one of career any longer but of independence. I simply wanted to be able to support myself and live in my own place.
That journey to self-sufficiency would take several more years but I finally found relief from the constant fear that everything was going to fall out from under me. I’ve learned that having a job and a place to live does not guarantee feelings of independence. All of it can be taken away in a heartbeat. And in those instances I have to ask for help from friends and family and my church. But I no longer consider that a lack of independence. Instead, I see it as reliance on my God to provide all that I need. I’ve been given the freedom and the choice to worship God and to allow Him to provide anything I lack. This often happens through the kindness of others, through blessings I never dreamed I’d receive. But relying on God doesn’t make me less independent in life; rather, I have chosen to be dependent because only He knows what’s coming next for me. There is nothing I can do to bring total security in my life. None of us can! And I understand now, after all these years, that independence is not the goal. Security is not something to achieve. Instead, I am to be reliant on my God and, in His wisdom, He often will ask that I rely on others, as well. There’s only so much I can do for myself, and I have learned not to worry when I can’t manage it all on my own. Time and again, I’ve seen God meet me right there and take care of the rest.