To the Fiercely Independent Woman

Having hip surgery taught me a lot about myself. It’s been almost two years since the doctor gave the diagnosis I was both eagerly and anxiously awaiting. That process was a pretty significant juncture in my life and, in some ways, the self awareness it created is still bubbling to the surface – some of it encouraging and edifying, other aspects disappointing and disheartening. But the hardest to process have been those that fall somewhere in the middle.

One of biggest, but not entirely surprising, discoveries is that…

I’m fiercely independent.

Not like the kind of independence that prefers to go it alone, but the kind that feels an inherent need to do so. This isn’t to say I don’t see the value of community and companionship – I’m deeply passionate about both – it’s just that my natural tendency is to try to do things on my own first. I’ve always seen this as a sign of determination, an innate resourcefulness, if you will. But what I’d never considered is that what I viewed as courage could actually be deeply rooted pride.

It was only when I was at my lowest, when I physically could not do for myself, that I was forced to stop striving and accept the fact that I needed help. If I refused and tried to control the situation on my own, preferring to do things my way, I risked hurting myself. I guess I’ve always seen asking for help when I’m capable of figuring things out on my own as a sign of weakness or taking advantage of someone’s time and resources.

Plus, I’m a strong, independent woman. I don’t need a man to carry my bag or help me with my coat or walk me to the bus stop. I got this.

Except in many of the situations I faced during the weeks {turned months} after my surgery, I didn’t have it. And I was too prideful to admit it. I was so worried about someone seeing me as a burden that I ended up rejecting their gifts of encouragement and support.

One friend asked if she could set up a group to bring me meals. Oh no, you don’t have to do that. I’m well enough to cook. Another offered to give me a ride to work. But then you have to pay for parking. Don’t worry about it, I’m fine. While at an event a friend wanted to help me carry my plate while I got seated. Don’t be silly, I can manage.

Every time someone asked me how they could help and I refused I was, in essence, telling them that they were not needed and that I could do it better on my own.

But that was a lie.

The truth was that asking for help made me feel extremely vulnerable. I wanted to be strong, to have it all together, to not appear like the lonely, blubbering mess that I was on the inside. It was difficult for me to set aside my independence – my pride – and admit my weakness to friends and strangers alike. But when I finally did, God showed up.

He says “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”¹ During that time I was the weakest I’ve ever been. But that weakness made room for God to reveal Himself in areas where my haughty spirit had been previously shutting Him out.

Let’s be honest, I don’t have it all together. I never have and I never will. Even on my best day, I can’t do life alone. But God provides. Sometimes that comes in the form of an inexplicable inner strength, other times in a friend’s helping hand. When I need support, yet refuse to accept it, I’m denying God’s gift of provision.

So, a lesson to my fellow independent women – Be fearless. Be bold. Be courageous. Be your fiercely independent selves. Hear me when I say, don’t ever lose that! But guard your heart against pride. When you feel the nudge that you might need someone else to step in, to walk alongside you, fight the urge to tackle the challenge on your own. Be open and vulnerable about your limitations, because there’s an intimacy in doing so that brings you into deeper relationship with others and with God.

We must be willing to receive a helping hand because there is only one Jehovah Jireh (God the Provider), and that’s not me, so I’m guessing it’s not you either. We don’t possess everything we need to succeed on our own, but others have some of the things we lack and are willing to share if we’ll let them. It takes more strength to admit and receive that than it does to try to hold it all together.

There’s power in welcoming God and others into our areas of weakness, because it’s in those humble moments that true freedom – true independence – is found.

¹(2 Corinthians 12:9)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. another wonderful line “I was so worried about someone seeing me as a burden that I ended up rejecting their gifts of encouragement and support.” This is such a revelation!!! Love you and this really spoke to me!

    Like

    1. A hard lesson to learn and one that I’m still trying to put into practice daily haha. Appreciate all your encouragement! Love you!

      Like

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