Surrender – Part 2
Trusting in a God we cannot see requires faith (see Hebrews 11:1). For most of us, people have let us down or hurt us. Our ability to trust people in our earthly experience has been shattered. How could we possibly trust in a God we can’t even see? Yet, we can trust in God because He is mightier, more powerful, and above everything that has gone wrong in our lives. He despises the wrongs committed against us, but He has promised us redemption. He grieves over the sin and bondage in our heart – but He has a method of deliverance for us.
Dependence and Control
All forms of unhealthy dependence and control are the direct result of not trusting God. Anything other than God that captures our dependence can only lead us into bondage and further shame.
Ultimately, all dependencies circle back to us attempting to control the areas of our lives where we have internalized the greatest shame-based fears. This inevitably leads to a singular focus on ourselves, most often in the various forms of self-protection.
- Self-Dependence. We may have learned that we ultimately needed to care for our own situations in life because other people were unavailable or incapable. Unknowingly, our operating system, or person we placed our trust in was self. Trusting in self is such a normal way of living. Most of us are unaware that something is even wrong with it. Self-effort, self-strength, self-attempts, self-sufficiency, self-security seem natural ways to function in everyday life for many of us.
- Self-Protection. A need to defend myself and my children from irresponsible or abusive people in my life, feeling it’s up to me to maintain peace, control, and sanity in my house.
- Self-Sufficiency. A need to hold everything together in my life because I can’t depend on others to help me.
- Self-Righteousness. A belief that “my way is right” and people should see and conform to that standard.
- Self-Reliance. A need to handle problems on my own because I don’t have a support system I can trust.
- Self-Made. A need to work hard to become a good person, being proud of my effort to live a moral life and feeling disgusted with people who don’t live by the same standards.
- Self-Justice. A need to find a sense of justice, often feeling that life and the injustices of others aren’t fair and need to be “settled” correctly.
- Self-Willed. A belief that with enough willpower and strength, I can get myself through difficult times.
If we have extremely self-sufficient tendencies, we may have a difficult time trusting in anyone. If people were perceived to be untrustworthy in our lives, self-sufficiency became a means of survival. Because we feel the need to manage life, we bear a tremendous amount of stress and pressure from basically believing we must pick up the slack where God is falling short.
We may suffer physical problems because we neglect self-care. We may have other addiction issues such as alcohol, eating disorders, perfectionism. All compulsive behaviors are a passionate, obsessive need to maintain control. A vicious cycle of self-expectation and survival techniques drives us to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. At some point, if we will finally allow our “self” to die and Christ to reign in our lives, we will find the most tremendous relief from burdens we could imagine – namely, the sufficiency of Christ.
Every human being is created with a dependent need within their soul. Certainly, some temperament combinations lend themselves to being more dependent than others. But none of us is exempt from being born with an inner nature of dependency. Even those of us who might see ourselves as strong or in control are dependent upon people and circumstances aligning with our efforts to exert our will over them.
The real heart-level issue is not whether we are dependent or not. It is the question of whom we are placing our dependency on.
- People Dependence. Dependent people overly latch onto the significant people in their lives, believing their own security rests on those people. They go to great measures to find stability in those relationships, believing they will satisfy their craving for love, security, and other emotional needs. Oftentimes, this individual will want dependence to be mutual in the relationship. In other words, they don’t just seek dependence in a person. They feel secure in relationships where that same person is dependent on them in return. Although individuals with any combination of temperaments can become people dependent, those with the Supine temperament (as well as Sanguines who have been very soul wounded) are most often associated with this form of dysfunctional dependence.
- Identity Dependence. In an earlier chapter, I went into great length as to the nature of prevalence of Identity Dependence in today’s society. Different than People Dependence, Identity Dependence is a one-sided relationship, where the individual who is identity dependent believes they can only find their identity, worth, and value in the happiness, success, and approval of another individual. The Identity Dependent person is often willing to give up everything (or believe they have), just to please the other person. Identity Dependence is a dysfunctional tendency of any person whose life has not well answered the question, “Who am I?” Obviously, those individuals who have given the most of themselves away will be more apt to fall into this category, and these tend to be Sanguines and Supines.
- Independence. Although the least obvious of all forms of dysfunctional dependence, Independence is still a very real obstacle to trusting God (or conversely, a very real result of our unwillingness to trust God). As opposed to having unhealthy needs to be dependent upon the connection or approval of others, as we see in People Dependence and Identity Dependence, individuals who struggle with Independence believe that they need no one for anything at any time. They tend to not even like people, unless they will contribute to the independent person’s needs for accomplishment or achievement. The two temperaments most often associated with this form of dependence dysfunctions are the Melancholy (depend only on themselves for competence and accomplishment), and the Choleric (depend only on themselves for control and achievement.”
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