We spend our lives striving for independence. It's expected from the moment we take our first breath. Society promotes autonomy and applauds someone when they reach that pinnacle. In order to do this, they must be diligent planners who rely on themselves to make the decisions and to take the risks in order to succeed. Self sufficiency is the goal, where the only person to rely on is yourself. It denotes strength in character, and anything less than this is considered a weak failure........in the eyes of society.
And yet......... we go to church and learn of this guy named Jesus who hangs out with the human beings who are struggling just to get through another day in anyway they can. Vulnerable and weak, unsure of any long term goals let alone where they will find food for their next meal, they don't have time to even contemplate autonomy.
It may not have been the most reasonable thing for Jesus to do. I mean, why would you put yourself in such a marginalized environment when you could opt for something more prestigious? Any yet, there He was hobnobbing with the minions.
What is the message in all of this? Are we supposed to build ourselves up to be strongly independent "don't need another person to survive this big old mean world" individuals? If we do that, how are we supposed to learn how to surrender ourselves to prayer and to faith?
Leader or follower?
We are inundated with paradoxes in values..........in what is expected and important. Or are we? Can we be both independent and vulnerable? Can we strive for autonomy and yet feel weak and in need of others? I read time and again that one has to "surrender" to a situation........to let the cards fall where they may...........to let go and you will feel closer to God because you are more open and vulnerable. I am also told that independence is a societal value, to keep your guard up.
It leaves me baffled.
hmmmmmmmmmmm............I'm wondering if we need to redefine what it means to be independent and self sufficient and what it means to be vulnerable. Maybe it takes one to be the other. Or maybe I'm just full of baloney.