The He You Need: A Little Too Independent
My mom, Leslie Switzer, is an incredibly strong, God-fearing woman. She is someone I can’t imagine my life without. Her wisdom is something I often take for granted, but the older I get the more often I realize how wise she truly is.
My mom says, “Because I had been raised to be self-reliant, I was never taught to be dependent on God.”
Can you relate to this? I think it’s common for women today to feel as if they need to be self-reliant to be somebody or to be independent. How often have we heard that? “Be independent!” “You don’t need a man.” “You can be successful on your own.” While it may be true that we don’t need a man to be successful, there is a God we need to be reliant on rather than being self-sufficient, self-reliant women. He is what he need.
My mom was raised to be independent. “Teen girls born in the 60’s and 70’s (the last four years of baby boomers and the first 15 years of Gen X) were raised by ‘women libbers’ (women that were liberated from the kitchen, staying at home to raise kids, etc). I was raised by one of those moms,” she says.
“My mother told me from the time I started school to get an education and then I could do whatever I wanted. I could work to support myself and would never have to be dependent on a man to ‘take care of me.’ My mom pushed me to be as independent as she was. She was born in 1934 during the Depression. Her mother only graduated from the eighth grade. My grandmother felt trapped and unable to have freedom because she had no education. She wanted better for my mom and made sure she went to college. My mom raised me saying things like, 'think on your own,' 'be your own person,' 'never rely on a man to do for you what you can do for yourself,' and so on.”
Being raised this way caused my mom to become self-reliant.
“While we went to church for a while as a family, my parents stopped going. I went with friends, but it was more of a social time rather than a personal relationship with the Lord. I was a good kid and graduated third in my class, but I didn’t really know Jesus. Because I had been raised to be self-reliant, I was never taught to be dependent on God. God was for when everything I tried on my own didn’t work… then I’d go to God and pray and ask Him to bless what I had already started instead of asking God in the first place what He wanted me to do and then relying and depending on Him 100% to get me through it.”
Let’s be real. How true is this for so many of us? Don’t we all come to this realization multiple times (if not daily) as we go through life? Because we are self-reliant, we don’t consult God until what we’ve tried has failed us. If this is the case, why would we ever want to rely on ourselves? When we put it in perspective, it doesn’t sound like such a good thing to strive for (regardless of what the world, or our parents, my say).
My mom says her advice to young women is to check your heart, mind and spirit. “What tapes are you playing and acting on in your head every day? Is it the tape of your mom telling you to be self-reliant or is it the Lord telling you to trust and lean on Him, to talk to Him before you make a decision, to seek His advice before embarking on what society or the world is telling you to do? Seeking the Will of God is the most important thing in life. When we are being totally independent women, we may find ourselves outside the will of God and inside our own will.”
It’s ok to be confidant in who we are. It’s ok to not rely on a man or other worldly things… but while we may be independent of worldly men, we should be careful not to lose sight of who we must always remain dependent upon.
“There is a very fine line between being an independent, confident woman and being totally trusting and dependent on God,” my mom says. “Society and social culture tell young women to do whatever they want that makes them happy. That is not what the Bible says for us to do. The Bible says “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things will be given to you.” We are to be dependent on God, but not dependent on a man.
For you married ladies, there’s wisdom to be shared with you too. Mom says being so “independent” makes it difficult for her to be a submissive wife as the Bible commands. “Every fiber in me wants to say I’m an equal, I’m smart, I’m educated and I’m self-reliant (oops there it is again). So while my husband treats me with the utmost respect, he is the spiritual head of our home and I must be submissive to his lead and totally dependent on God to help me be that.”
As current or future mothers, or simply women with a desire to not be self-reliant, we can help our current/future daughters and the women around us become confident, selfless, God-reliant women rather than being the self-reliant, independent women the world tells us we should be.
“I pray women today will raise their daughters differently… that they will teach them to love God and rely on Him to guide and direct them to their purpose and calling in life. Through this, they will become educated, confident and God-reliant rather than self-reliant women of the future.”