It is okay to be dependent.

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In the lecture Ray and I attended last week, Dr. Kelly M. Kapic taught that every person is dependent. God created us that way. There is no shame in being dependent. Oh, how we Americans need that truth to sink deeply into our hearts. The drive to be independent can cause harm to ourselves and to others while marring our relationship with God as well.

Dr. Kapic pointed out that:

  • We are dependent on God for our very being and for absolutely everything and we are to love him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

He is not far from each one of us; 
for in Him we live and move and exist . . . 
Acts 17:27b-28a

  • We are dependent on our neighbors and are to love them as ourselves.

For just as we have many members in one body
and all the members do not have the same function, 
so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another. 
Since we have gifts that differ
according to the grace given to us,
each of us is to exercise them accordingly . . .
Romans 12:4-6a

  • We are dependent on the Creation God has provided.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you
every plant yielding seed
that is on the surface of all the earth,
and every tree which has fruit yielding seed;
it shall be food for you . . . 
Genesis 1:29

The Veteran in a New Field 
by Winslow Homer, 1865,
Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bequest of Adelaide Milton de Groot

The lecture we attended took place at Tennessee Technological University. Most of the audience were college students. Dr. Kapic spoke specifically to them, saying that many of them would soon be going home for the summer. He said that those who were from healthy, supportive families would enjoy being with their parents again, but that after a short time—maybe three days, a week, or two weeks—they would start to find their parents irritating. They would notice irritating flaws: Dad talks too loud. Mom wears such outlandish clothes.

Dr. Kapic advised that when that happens, the students should take a shower. In the shower, they should look down at their belly buttons and remember where they came from. God created each of us in His image and each of us came from two other people.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

Dr. Kapic encouraged the students to say thank you to their parents. He tried to help them see how deep their gratitude to their parents needed to be and how great was their dependence on them with this insightful and thought-provoking statement: “Until you are grateful for those who changed your diapers, you won’t be able to change theirs.”

Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right. 
Honor your father and mother
(which is the first commandment with a promise), 
so that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth.
Ephesians 6:1-2

We simply are dependent. Rather than fighting against it, we should delight in and rest in that dependence, while we appreciate God, other people, and His Creation.

Thus says the Lord,
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit,
and who trembles at My word.”
Isaiah 66:1-2


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