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Question: What percentage of your time in a day, 0-100%, do you rely on your own efforts and might rather than on the power of God within you?

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6

Self-sufficiency Anxiety:

Self-sufficient: Needing no outside help satisfying one’s needs.

Frustration: Feeling of being annoyed particularly around your ability to change something.

Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness unease.

Worry: A story you make up about something in your future.

My 4-year-old granddaughter was hyper-focused on tying her sneaker. She did the same thing over and over and over as she twisted the shoelaces into a spiral, got frustrated, pulled them apart and began to twist them together again. It was very clear that she knew exactly what she wanted to accomplish yet didn’t know how to do it…yet. I sat down beside her and said. “I am noticing you’re a little frustrated” to which she sternly replied, “I AM!” I asked her gently, “Would you like some help?” To which she quickly replied, “NO, I can do it by myself.

Self-sufficiency often opens the door to frustration & anxiety, yet we continue to do things by ourselves over and over until we come to the end of our rope and finally begin to ask for help and/or delegate to people who know how to “tie shoes” very efficiently… or not which fuels the fire of anxiety and worry as we rely on our own efforts.

Self-sufficiency is actually a fruit of pride which fuels another fruit of pride: anxiety. Both of which compromise emotional intelligence in relationships.

Thoughtfully read through the following two paragraphs. What stands out to you? (Source: 50 Fruits of Pride by Brent Detwiler):

  • “I tend to be self-sufficient in the way I live my life. I don’t live with a constant awareness that my every breath is dependent upon the will of God. I tend to think I have enough strength, ability and wisdom to live and manage my life. My practice of the spiritual disciplines is inconsistent and superficial. I don’t like to ask others for help.”
  • “I am often anxious about my life and the future. I tend not to trust God and rarely experience his abiding and transcendent peace in my soul. I have a hard time sleeping at night because of fearful thoughts and burdens I carry.”

In Exodus 3, 4 and 7 Moses is highly aware that he doesn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to deliver a message of freedom for God. No shocker to God who is Emotional Intelligence. Knowing Moses doubts his ability to speak eloquently to Pharaoh, God provides support: Aaron, who does have the ability that Moses is lacking.

Part of being emotionally intelligent is knowing what gifts you have and what gifts you don’t have. The other factor to consider is your time. Just because you can learn how to do something doesn’t mean you should. God has plans to use YOU, your unique gifts and talents for good in this world. If your gift is teaching and facilitating, rather than taking the classes needed to master administrative skills and data organization, partner with someone who has that skillset so you can stay on mission. We are created to rely on each other. Pride divides and isolates: I want the credit for ALL of it, it’s my project and I want them to give me the recognition. Humility gathers people together. Humility moves people to rely on God and each other to accomplish the bigger mission at hand. “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” – James 4:6-7

Reflect on the following questions as you explore how to up your choice to allow God to work in your life and bring support resources onto your radar.

  • As you reflect back over the past two weeks, how has self-sufficiency worked for you? How has it not worked for you?
  • What happens when you continue to do everything yourself?
  • How hard is it for you to delegate a task that is easy for you to do yet takes up time that could be used more efficiently for your main mission? Little tasks add up quickly and are time thieves.
  • Do you trust in God? Do you believe He has your best interests at hand? Do you see fruit in your life as a result of trusting Him? Patience, self-control, peace?

How do the following verses speak to self-sufficiency and anxiety for you? “For we are the handiwork of God created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 “The power of God within us is able to accomplish abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.” – Ephesians 3:20. 

Let go and let God more today than yesterday. I asked God why I was so anxious about a particular project. He replied, “Because I never asked you to do that. Whatever I ask you to do, you will know because peace comes with the request.” 

Lead Like Jesus Revisited addresses these issues of pride and self-sufficiency. 

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