Dependence is an Ugly Word

“You’re so dependent, it drives me crazy.”

“Raise your kids to be independent thinkers.”

“Why should I be dependent on anyone else? I’ve got this.”

“I want my independence.”

“A woman should never be dependent on a man.”

I’ve heard all of these statements and many more. Loud voices call out in our culture. In a parenting class. the leader said that mothers nurture and fathers prepare their child to be independent.


Yet meaningful relationships call for some kind of dependence on those involved. Mutual respect. Love. Shared goals.

But then people say never be dependent on anyone else.

God teaches something different.




In the Bible:

Jonah did his own thing and ended up in the belly of a big fish. (Jonah 1 & 2)

Saul made independent choices and found himself without a kingdom. (I Samuel)

Moses got mad and learned he would only see the Promise Land from high above it. (Numbers 20:9-12 and Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

In A Praying Life, Paul E. Miller noted, Adam and Eve had no idea about self-identity until after they sinned. He pointed out that Jesus held no view of Himself apart from God and did nothing on His own.

As I was contemplating what Mr. Miller said, I read an account in Matthew that built added another layer of thought. The disciples rode in a boat during a storm. Jesus walked on the water to them. (Matthew 14:23-33) At first, fear gripped them. When they learned who approached them, Peter asked for Jesus to let him walk on the water to Him.

Peter got out of the boat and stepped toward Christ. At that moment, his very being, his entire self, was wrapped up in his dependence on Jesus.

And he didn’t fall into the sea.

Sit with that thought for a moment.

Peter. Walked. On. Water.

He took a huge step of dependence—not a normal characteristic of Peter—and did the impossible.

Because at that moment, he fully depended on Christ. He put his trust where it needed to be. In stepping out of the boat, he placed himself totally into relationship with his Messiah.

And he walked on water with Jesus.

Perhaps at that moment, there was a return to how God intended life to be. Full dependence on Him.

In the garden, Adam and Eve walked with God. They had no hint of living without Him. No grasp of a struggle for independence.

When the devil entered the picture and offered the lie that something might be missing in their little world. Intrigue and curiosity took over.

Were they actually missing out on anything?

Could there be more than just the garden?

And the drive for independence and the pulling away from God came to be.

With it was born the need to prove oneself. The desire to be free of restrictions. The eagerness toward individuality. Uniqueness. Self-identity.

If those feelings aren’t strong enough, we end up thinking we are less than, slighted somehow, not worth as much as someone else.

We fall into a downward spiral God never intended.

Because of believing a lie.

Though dependence may be a bad concept in our society, God calls us to walk in relationship with Him, spend time learning to grow in reliance on Him, and live in the strength Jesus did. Jesus only did what God directed. He was dependent on God just as He desires us to be. Not worrying about what someone else is doing. Focusing on the truth of God’s love and not on the lies the devil whispers.

If we listen to him, the only thing we’re missing out on is stress over what we don’t have but think we should. God never planned for us to be independent of Him but rather to depend fully on Him for everything.

How about you? Are you ready to release the lies of independence? Ask God to give you the courage to turn your back on the world’s view. Get out of the boat and join Him. Fully lean on Him for everything He has for you.


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