I Can't Do This Alone

In our fast-paced society, we learn early on that independence is an important value, one that we progressively grow into as we mature. We are told that we need to be independent in order to survive in this world, that supporting yourself is fundamental to achieving success. We want to be able to do things on our own, to take care of ourselves. There is great pride to be had in accomplishing something independently, without any help. We want to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, free. Sounds pretty appealing, right? Especially if you are a twenty-something striking out on your own. But there is another way, a better way.

We are currently potty training our youngest daughter. I remember when she was first born and completely and totally relied on me and my husband for her every need. As she continues to grow it is great to see her performing many activities on her own, and using the toilet by herself is another step in her development. Even though she is becoming more independent she still needs support. No matter what task she is learning to perform on her own, someone must first demonstrate it for her and teach her how to accomplish her goal. And it won’t stop in her toddler years. The thing is, she can’t do this alone. And you know what, neither can I.

I can’t do this alone. This life. Anything. Everything. I am completely and totally dependent on God. Until I realize this truth, I’m not really free. Perhaps I’ve been depending on money, success, stuff, any number of things to help me feel secure. But it is all an illusion. I would not be here if it were not for God willing it. And I depend on other people too. There are times when I need more help, and God has sent me my wonderful husband, my lovely children, good friends, family, and even acquaintances to provide the help I need at a particular time. The thing is though, that sometimes I don’t even recognize I need help. My own pride blinds me. I want to be able to do it all. But I was not made for independence, I was made for communion. To be able to share and exchange and interact with God and His people.

Recently God reminded me of my dependence on Him and the people He has blessed me with. At first I tried to act as though I was fine, that this particular struggle would surely pass, and that I could carry on as usual. But that was thankfully not the case. God slowed me down a bit so that the Holy Spirit could speak truth to me. It was time for me to stop being so self- reliant, because in my self-reliance I had been taking for granted all of the many blessings I could have been thankful for. I began to take credit for my accomplishments. But I was reminded through James 1:16-17 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: all good giving and every perfect gift - is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” Everything I have, I have been given by a God who loves me. And sometimes He uses ordinary struggles in order that a greater good might come about.

As a result of this simple realization I am allowing my husband to love me and care for me. For me, that started out as a sacrifice of sorts. Now it is the disposition of my heart. I know that I cannot do this alone. And so I can cheerfully let my husband help me. And I can let my daughters help me too. I can let others help me. And when I am humbled and allow others to provide the support I need, I am allowing them to grow in their own virtues as well. Accepting the blessings of others can be a blessing to them in return. As I am growing in humility and gratitude, it is easier to turn my heart to the Lord. Mother Angelica said it best in her Private and Pithy Lessons From the Scriptures (Introduced and Edited by Raymond Arroyo): “Psychologists tell us today you’ve got to have self-confidence. What you need is confidence in God. Whatever you have, you have from God.”

Placing our trust in God is the only way to truly move forward in this life. Whether you are learning how to use the potty or moving into your first apartment, rather than strive for independence, perhaps take a moment to realize that you can fully depend on God. And you too will find the freedom in realizing that you can’t do this alone.