WHAT I MEAN BY SPIRITUAL INDEPENDENCE
I remember the response when I first used the term “spiritual independence” several years ago.
There was a lot of confusion and even outrage:
“Christians are supposed to be in fellowship, not by themselves!”
“We’re not supposed to do it alone!”
“We can’t trust ourselves and must submit to those in authority!”
I was surprised. So I explained:
First of all, I’m not talking about isolation. I’m talking about independence. If someone wants to isolate themselves from others, that’s their choice. I don’t recommend it, but you’re allowed to.
There’s no law forbidding us from being hermits.
Although, our wisest spiritual thinkers acknowledge that developing a healthy spiritual life alone requires a great deal of wisdom and maturity and should not be entered into lightly.
What I mean by spiritual independence is spiritual autonomy. I truly believe we can be the captains of our own ships, the masters of our own destiny, and the authorities over our own lives.
If I wish to submit to a spiritual director, I should do it volitionally and not under compulsion with the understanding that I am free to end the relationship at any time.
Let me give an analogy: Lisa and I have been married a long time. Our relationship has gone in and out of health as we learn how to love one another better. We’ve come to a place where we are independent individuals who willingly enter into our relationship. We are each independent, but we choose to be interdependent, rather than separate or codependent.
So, spiritual independence means you are the authority over your own spiritual life, and, if you wish, you volitionally enter into fellowship with others interdependently without losing your independence. If you wish to submit your spiritual care to another whom you entrust with your spiritual life, that’s your choice and is an expression of your autonomy. But, it’s understood that it’s a relationship you can sever at any time because your life is yours, including your spiritual life.
Unfortunately, you are probably required to surrender your independence in order to belong to the group. This is not only unnecessary, but it is damaging to your spiritual life.
But, you probably already know that or you likely wouldn’t be reading this. Be proud of yourself, because I am. Because most the people I know leaving the church is because they demand their spiritual independence. That’s a healthy move!
If the church would encourage and support our spiritual independence and value healthy interdependence rather than toxic codependence (which is often the case), there would be healthier spiritual lives and communities.
If you haven’t yet, you should read my book, “Questions are the Answer” on Amazon. I go into more depth there and there are lots of cartoons you’ll enjoy.
If you’re alone or lonely, join us at The Lasting Supper dot com.