Our culture richly celebrates independence – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, Independence Day, self-starters, songs about living life “our way”… And yet, at the exact same time, we long for relationship, create infinite rules about engagement and protocol, and more often than not, set ourselves up for failure instead of success. While we scream for validation and attention in social media, we will often simultaneously stomp our feet and insist we don’t need anyone.
We got this.
I think one of the most ironic things about our perceived “independence” is the emptiness we feel when it comes to authentic relationship. So often our words, non-verbal communication and decisions are founded on, and promote, an I’m-gonna-do-it-myself attitude, while our hearts long for someone to join us in our endeavors. Instead of seeking to find a healthy balance of doing life ALONGSIDE someone, we push others away, set unrealistic terms of engagement, and then BLAME when we feel alone.
From the moment God created us, we were destined for relationship. He designed us to “do life” with others. Independent as we may think we are, there will always be a space that longs for, and seeks out to be filled. Relationally. No matter how often we lie to ourselves that “we got this,” we will never walk in fullness if we choose to go it alone.
As someone who has fought hard to overcome codependent tendencies, I have found it a struggle to learn how to walk with those who operate this way. The tug-of-war is a challenge as I work to navigate the ever-changing ebb and flow; the push-pull element of being in relationship with one who pushes away, only to curse your absence when they want you there. On their terms. For those of us who have done the pushing, it’s imperative we are really honest with ourselves when we find ourselves feeling as though our mountains must be climbed alone. Most likely it is me-myself-and-I who has hand-crafted that chasm.
Who do you need? Who needs you? What does that truly look like? How can you “walk” better than you have? I know that for myself, digging deep and examining my own personal limitations, and expectations, is something that has not been easy to accept, but I think, in time, I may find myself more capable of accepting the ebb and flow more easily, letting myself off the hook more readily. And to close the door when necessary…