When my grandson, Xavier, was about 2 years old my daughter called me one day in frustration. It seems Xavier had gone from being complacent to being “difficult”. He wanted to do things by himself–getting dressed, putting on his shoes, and deciding what he was going to eat. “I can do it myself,” he would yell and my daughter was exasperated. He would get angry and frustrated when he couldn’t zip his coat or his shoes were on the wrong feet. I explained it was part of growing up and learning independence and she should let him do things for himself, within reason. Of course, he had to understand there were things he couldn’t do by himself, at his level of maturity, and needed his mother’s help.
As Christians, we experience the same growing pains. There are things God wants us to learn to do for ourselves without his constant prompting–reading our Bibles, spending time with him each day and communicating with him in prayer. But, there are other areas of our lives where we need his help. Its so easy, when faced with situations in our lives, to say, “I can do it myself” but we end up frustrated and angry because the end result is messy. As humans we like to think we are in control of our circumstances but the fact of the matter is God has the final say.
Our proclivity for independence is actually based in sin and more specifically pride. All sin is founded in pride because it originates with its creator, Satan. Satan was thrown down from Heaven because of pride and the first sin committed by Adam and Eve was based in pride. Being like God and believing we don’t need his help in our lives is prideful. We were not created to be independent of our God but to recognize our need for him in our lives.
Isaiah has a wonderful illustration of this. In Isaiah 45:9 it says, “Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?'” I’m not very artistically creative but I know clay is meant to be molded into whatever shape the potter desires. It doesn’t fight back or say, “I don’t want to be a dumb old vase.” It relies on the skill of the creator and is satisfied with the end result. We might think we know better than our creator but he has our end result in mind. If we give ourselves over to him and allow him to mold us our lives will be less frustrating.
I am not always a good lump of clay. I question my creator or try to mold myself and end up with a horrible mess. I remind myself every day to let God be God so my life can be a masterpiece instead of in pieces.