Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dependence day

The classes I am taking this semester are up on my on-line Blackboard page. This means I can take an early peek at the syllabus, assignments and textbooks.

Excuse me while I breathe in this paper bag for a minute . . . . . easy. . . . .calm down . . . .

I have already decided to drop one of the three classes I registered for because the first two have an enormous workload: 4 class discussions to lead, 5 papers, 73 readings and one large project. All I know about the third class is that it has 3 required textbooks and about 10 recommended. That is more than enough reason to save that class for another semester.

This time in the semester is not a good time for me. I know too much about what will be expected of me, but I have little reminder of the good parts of going to school. By next week I will still feel overwhelmed, but I will also have touched base with several people with whom I have developed a strong friendship. In seeing them, again, God will remind me that He has a plan on how to get me through this semester.

In the reading I did this summer, I came across an interesting idea. Much of Developmental Psychology of the last 100 years, or so, has centered on the idea that when we are born we bond, or attach, to our parents and spend the rest of our childhood going from complete dependence to independence. The point being made in the book was that the field is starting to realize the reverse may also be true. In other words, we are born, bond with our parents and that is the first step in learning how to work with, and depend on, others. In fact, the more we study learning, the more we realize that social skills, such as empathy, are a key component to good learning.

Becoming independent is not a theme in scripture; at least not a theme with a good ending. If we work toward independence we work ourselves away from God. Here is a good example:

For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not." Jeremiah 11: 7-8 (ESV)

In our sin we want to be independent, but the effect is similar to a two-year-old insisting "me do it." We simply cannot do anything on our own. We are completely dependent on God.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?"

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 31-36 (ESV)

I am looking at this verse in a new way. I need to be enslaved (dependent on) to God in order to experience freedom (independence). So for now, I will go to God in prayer, begin my reading assignments, and meet with two good UNL friends for a picnic lunch, tomorrow. God's promise to love and care for me will filter into my brain and heart as I read and pray over His word.

Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:49-50

Thank you, God, for new adventures (even scary ones), thank you for friends and thank you for complete and utter dependence on You.


AliceRuth said...

Thank you for this, Kim!

Mariane said...

Kim, I just read your wonderful post and wished I were among your UNL friends with whom you picnicked. :) Truly, there is relief in depending on God and finding one's freedom through that bond!