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BIS LIVES Blog

Staying Reliant on God in a Culture of Independence

independent women

Everywhere I turn, I’m reminded that my ultimate autonomy is crucial to my success as a female in 2019. I need to be an independent woman who doesn’t need a man. Feelings are illnesses that can be caught and people always leave, so I shouldn’t trust any of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first lady to stand up and clap for the women working in male-dominated professions, paying their own bills, or living out their singlehood. But really, what’s so wrong about needing someone? Especially the One?

We’re Told Not to Need Anyone But Ourselves

For as long as I can remember, until fairly recently, asking for help or looking for support too often meant admitting defeat. Whether it was regarding a difficult math equation, a deeply-rooted sin, or a soccer drill. It was a fault, not being able to accomplish life and its various challenges alone.

Looking to God? Well, that was just the ultimate cop-out, a sort of last-ditch effort. As a woman, weakness was not something I wanted to exude. I knew I was not living alone in this lie. So many of us can fall into the belief that if we admit that there are things we can’t tackle alone, we must be failures. Something is wrong with us. We may find ourselves trapped and confined by this, living within it for long periods of time, in silent, isolated desperation.

However, I challenge all women to rise up and seek the truth. As daughters baptized in the name of God, we are called to much more. We are called to challenge society’s notion of strength and the pinnacle of womanhood. We were made to live our lives in community. We were created to participate in relationship.

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We are Made for Community

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “God did not create man a solitary being” (CCC 383).

We were designed to desire relationship; so naturally we do, no matter how hard we try to deny it. The idea of relationship, however, can be hard to pin down. We have many definitions and ideas as to what a relationship pertains.

When we get to the root of any relationship, there is love. St. Thomas Aquinas defines love as, “to will the good of another.” Working to will the good of another isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It includes sacrifice and difficulty. By proclaiming the vows of marriage, a man and woman commit to loving their partner “through good times and bad.” In the same way, honoring God’s will for us, we are to love and be loved by the people who are present in our lives. To do so more deeply, we share our triumphs and our trials. It’s a relationship of give and take, through every high and low.

We Desire Connection

We were designed to desire connection: here with fellow humans and especially with our Father in Heaven.

God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange. -CCC 221

 

Just as He wants our works, good deeds, and successes, our God wants to take on our burdens and needs as well. He offers us this relationship, as He offered Jesus to take on our sin. He wants to give us rest, to solve our troubles. We must only welcome Him.

1 Peter 5:7 says:

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you.

 

Our God is personal and calls us to intimate relationship with Him. When we choose to participate in this, we are rewarded.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

 

In true freedom and peace, we may strive forward with the Almighty God who roots us.

We are Made Strong through Our Reliance on Him

Living out our trust in Christ and each other is a true sign of our feminine strength. It can be difficult to swallow our pride and admit we can’t do it all, but a space like this one certainly helps.

The Blessed is She community accepts and supports with reckless abandonment. Edith Stein, later known as St. Teresa Benedicta, said, “The woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold.” This sisterhood exemplifies this idea so well. We have been gifted a unique, feminine capability to welcome candor without reserve and model it ourselves, too.

There is so much comfort and liberation to be found when we open up and welcome our sisters into our most vulnerable places; bringing us ever closer to the open arms of our Father. Let us rest in our reliance on our One God, knowing that this is what brings deep fulfillment.

How do you stay reliant on God in a culture that demands we be independent from everyone but ourselves?

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Cara Grimmer is student and future educator living in the Midwest. Bubbly, blonde, and constantly bursting into song, she strives to live out the beauty and truth of her Catholic Faith in the way St. Teresa of Calcutta encourages, by doing “small things with great love.”

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