Independent and proud

I’m an independent person. I always have been, even when I was a child. My mom used to tell me that even as a very small girl I didn’t want to be held; I wanted to run around like an idiot. Not much has changed, I don’t guess.

There is certainly nothing wrong with being independent, that is until you start thinking that you can rely on yourself for everything. Then you’re just asking for trouble. Because none of us are strong enough on our own to make it through life alone. I don’t care how independent or self-sufficient you are.

Gorilla sitting by himself

Gorilla sitting by himself - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Ecclesiastes 4:10.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

I love Ecclesiastes because it’s pretty much just straight talk, and the passage where today’s verse comes from is all about the advantages of companionship.

Anyone who thinks the Bible doesn’t make sense hasn’t read Ecclesiastes. This is actually the passage where today’s verse comes from. It’s just so good, I had to post the whole thing:

Ecclesiates 4:9-12

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Two people are better than one. Why? Because if one person falls down, the other person can help them up. That is relevant in a figurative sense and a literal sense. If you trip and fall and scrape your knee, it’s a lot easier to stand up again when someone offers you a hand. Same thing when you slip and slide into some sin. It’s a lot easier to pull yourself out of a pit if someone helps you out.

In the cold, two people can keep each other warm, while one person will freeze to death. Two people can watch each others’ backs in a fight, while one person will be overcome. According to this passage, having someone to walk through life alongside you is a really good idea. But in our hardworking, busybody 21st Century American thinking, we don’t need anyone else. We are sufficient on our own. And if you ask for help, you’re weak. If you’re seeing a counselor, there must be something wrong with you. If you have an accountability partner, you must have a deep dark struggle with sin.

Well, you know what? Everyone is weak. Everyone has something wrong with them. And everyone struggles with deep, dark sin. Because everyone is human.

This is something I have to really fight in my own personal life because I hate it when people think I’m weak. I can’t stand it if someone feels like they have to take care of me or support me or try to help me carry my own weight. I don’t want anyone to have anything that they can hold over my head.

But that’s pride. And pride is pretty stupid, if you think about it.

Maybe being alone is easier at times because you don’t have to sacrifice to make someone else happy, but the result is that you are completely by yourself with no one to help you when the time comes that you need help. And, trust me, the time will come when you need help.

So weigh your options.

Independence with pride because you don’t want people to think you’re weak? Or independence with the knowledge that every now and then you might need help because you’re not perfect?

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