Fallacy of Self-Sufficiency (Relationship and Redemption)

lone footprintsDo you value self-sufficiency? I do—or at least did.


Self-sufficiency is an attribute I’ve cultivated through the years. I consider myself a strong woman, and as such, believe I can handle things on my own.

Navigating life’s turbulent waters on one’s own can feel empowering, but I’ve learned, it’s really an illusion.

For nothing of beauty and life stands alone. Just look around at God’s creation. Taken out of their relationships, their communities, their ecosystems, plants and animals rarely thrive. Sometimes even the predator/prey nature of critters is offset by the service one can provide for the other (think shark and remora [cleaner fish]).

Nothing points out the fallacy of self-sufficiency like hardship. In our hurt, we often isolate ourselves further, which only exasperates the pain. We believe no one understands, no one is suffering the same way, no one can help.

In our belief that we are alone, we buy into one of Satan’s greatest lies.

“Wildflowers from Winter”

Over the weekend I finished a wonderful book written by Katie Ganshert, Wildflowers from Winter, which painted a vivid picture of the desert of self-sufficiency and addressed hope and redemption. This has been the first book I’ve read purely for pleasure in a very long time. It didn’t disappoint.

In her debut novel, Katie focuses on the life of a self-made, self-sufficient young lady with a hurtful past. Determined to live her life on her own, she sees little value in investing in the lives of others or in believing in God.

Through a somewhat long trail of mishaps and unwanted events, Bethany finds herself facing the past she wanted to bury and friends she felt she no longer needed.

Although Bethany was far more extreme in her self-sufficiency and isolationism, I could see a glimpse of myself in her life. An even stronger resemblance was found in the character of Robin, the former best friend of Bethany’s, who had lived a fairy tale life until tragedy struck.

A series of events that could only be defined as divinely orchestrated, forced the two hurting women together again, one a stoic mask of bitterness, the other a haunting shell of indescribable pain.

Robin felt alone in the iron grip of grief, Bethany in her self-righteous resentment. But as they were forced to lean on each other, they both began to experience healing.

Embrace Relationship

In their isolation they were lost, but by battling together the former friends were able to survive their individual nightmares.

In an attempt to keep herself busy, Bethany helped Robin find purpose in living. Eventually, Bethany’s self-sufficient façade was shattered, and over time she realized her need for God.

As the story unfolded, I found myself getting frustrated with Bethany’s superior attitude and Robin’s apparent unending sorrow. A part of me wanted to jump right to the love and romance. To get everything smoothed out quickly.

However, the story’s realism was actually the feature that drew me in and held me fast. Grief wasn’t relieved overnight. Questioning God and His purpose ran throughout the book. The messiness of life was revealed in its totality.

As I devoured the story (staying up much too late to finish it), an image kept popping up in my mind. One of a dance where several steps are taken forward and then back again. This is how our journeys through this broken world play out.

Life isn’t a neat package and neither is faith.

Katie Ganshert does a masterful job portraying a bit of, I believe, all our walks in her characters. Not tying up life with a neat little bow, but revealing the fringes and tears in the wrapping. She writes the reality of redemption, not perfection.

God’s Plan

Going alone, hiding our fears and pain—being self-sufficient—was not  Katie’s final plan for Bethany and is not God’s plan for us. He offers another way. He created relationship, with Him and with others. It’s up to us to embrace both.

Going alone, hiding our fears and pain—being self-sufficient is not God’s plan for us. He created relationship with Him and others. Click To Tweet

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Reflections: Have you tried to hide your pain and do life on your own? Do you have a redemption story to tell? I’d love to have you share it. And if you are facing winter now, please tell me how I can pray for you.

*”I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

4 comments on “Fallacy of Self-Sufficiency (Relationship and Redemption)
  1. nmetzler says:

    I love how you point out that it seems empowering but is actually an illusion.
    Aren’t so many of Satan’s lies that way?
    Oh, that we might learn how to shine the light of truth into the darkness of lies.

  2. Love this post, Julie! I especially love this line: Life isn’t a neat package and neither is faith.

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