The complexities of living life under the instruction, guidance and requests of someone who is so far beyond your level of understanding and knowledge often leads to frustration. From the moment we come into this world we have no choice but to rely on those whose life experience, strength and knowledge create a safe environment that nurtures, teaches and protects.

It doesn’t take long for our desire for independence to get the best of us.

A child may need the wisdom, protection and love of the adult around them but something inside says I can do it on my own. This doesn’t happen all at once but gradually. Push a little here and there. We want to see how much we can get away with. Wait until no one is looking then try what you have been told not to do.

Over time experimentation turns into defiance. Everything from yelling “no” to an outright temper tantrum is used to express that the help, instructions and input of the adult are no longer the best way to live now that we are two or three years old. It doesn’t take long for a two or three year old to realize they may need an adult after all. When the next meal comes or shoes need to be tied, independence gives way to total reliance as we seek out help, instruction and input once again.

Our desire for independence does not get any weaker.

Off with our friends, left alone and trusted to apply the limited wisdom we have absorbed, it doesn’t take long for us to try something that we know the adults in our life wouldn’t let us do. There is no one to there to defy directly but in our heads we know we are pushing the boundaries. This isn’t about disobedience as much as it is about moving beyond the control of those who have set the limits in the past.

A bump, a scrape, a bruise or a broken bone and we are running (unless it’s a broken leg) back to those whose wisdom we ignored. We want independence but when things get bad there is nothing we need more than the embrace of the adult whose rules we just broke.

Our desire for independence becomes stronger and we begin to break away.

Friends gain more influence than the adults in our lives. Independence becomes more important than protection and guidance. We may be outright defiant or covertly rebellious. We seek to do what we want believing we know more than the grownups or at least what they know is outdated and simply not cool. We may not be afraid of getting caught or we may be petrified of being found out but that only dictates who is around when we step out of line.

A bump, a scrape, a bruise, a broken bone or worse makes us long for the protection and embrace of the formerly influential adults in our lives but our desire for independence coupled with our belief that we may have gone beyond their love stops us. Their wisdom seems more of a judgement on our choice not to employ it so we continue to make our own way rarely seeking help or following their requests.

There are complexities when living life under the influence of someone else.

There is no question, the adults in our life can be wrong about some things. There is no dispute, those who take on the role of parents and mentors base their advice on personal preference rather than provable fact. Still, for the most part, their words of wisdom, their restrictions and requests, have merit and offer a much better approach to life, at least life as they perceive it based on their own experience.

It is complex to live under their instruction, guidance and requests and it often leads to frustration. How do you get out there and become your own person if they limit your experiences? How can you learn if all you do is blindly follow their requests and do no more? They may know better than us based on life experience but they don’t know everything and they lack the perfection to instruct and guide in all situations.

Child/adult in charge relationships are always complex.

We are wired to seek independence from those who in our early years instruct and guide us, those who set boundaries and request that we comply. A boy must become a man and a girl must become a woman, that is the way we are designed. It becomes complex because the independence we seek is often so emotionally charged. We are not looking to set our own course based on the guidance and wisdom of others but rather we set out to be our own person by trying to do the opposite of what others have asked us to do.

Child of God/God relationships are even more complex.

We are wired to seek independence from those who in our early years instruct and guide us, those who set boundaries and request that we comply, but God never intended us to seek this independence from Him. Our relationship becomes complex when we seek to be partially or totally independent rather than totally dependent on God.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself which stage of development you are at in your relationship with God.

Rebellious teenager

Boundary pushing preteen

Temper tantrum “no” yelling toddler

Totally dependent baby

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)


  1. Great post Dave. It’s amazing how often we believe we can really live independent lives IN Christ. Rather incongruous! I also wanted to thank you for finding and following my blog. But I mostly looking forward to learning more from you! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

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