Resisting the Lure of Self-Sufficiency

January 24, 2023  - By Brittany Allen

Resisting the Lure of Self-Sufficiency - an article from Well-Watered Women

Her eyes open to darkness all around. She’s exhausted, already drowning in the to-dos of today. Rolling over to turn off her alarm, she continues lying there, dreading getting up. It seems like she’s been living in a constant state of overwhelm. There are never enough hours in the day, no matter how productive she is. The demanding tasks of serving her family, discipling her children, keeping the home, and working part-time require more than she can give. Without a thought, she gets dressed and starts her day, leaving her Bible unopened on her nightstand. 

We are a forgetful, self-sufficient people. Many of us live in a state of pride, leaving God’s Word untouched as we run around frazzled and distracted by life’s demands. Some feel buried under the weight of training up children while others stress over keeping their small business afloat. Hard marriages, difficult toddler behaviors, homes that are never tidy, underpaid jobs, heavy grief—we’re all facing different circumstances that can tempt us to forgo running to the very God who sustains us.

Types of Self-Sufficiency

I’ve come to recognize that there is more than one way to believe we’re self-sufficient. First, there’s the prideful idea that we really don’t need God to help us in our circumstances. We’ve got this. Or maybe we don’t, but we think we should. Instead of going to God for help, we strive in our own strength to get through each moment, each hour, each day. 

Then there are those of us who practice what I like to call unconfident self-sufficiency. It’s stubborn and thoughtless—you know you can’t do what God has called you to on your own, but you try anyway. When we live in this way, a harsh light shines on the state of our hearts. It reveals distrust, unbelief, and even a bit of hypocrisy. We know God can change our circumstances, but maybe we don’t believe he will. Or that he wants to. So we don’t go to him for the help we need. We don’t pray or seek him in his Word. Yet seeking him through both prayer and the Bible is exactly what we need.

The truth is that self-sufficiency will run you into the ground. It will always lead to feeling burnt out and distant from God. Instead, we need to hold fast to the Word of Life, for apart from him, our labor is in vain (Ps. 127:1). Trusting in our own self-sufficiency is not a fruit of the Spirit; it’s the way of the world.

Fighting Self-Sufficiency with God’s Word

In a culture that places high value on self-sufficiency, it’s hard to resist this disordered thinking. Some believe that growing in Christ equals becoming less needy. But truly understanding our utter neediness before our Creator shows an accurate view of ourselves. 

Scripture instructs us to trust our omniscient God and not lean on our own limited understanding (Prov. 3:5). It also reminds us of our need for salvation which is provided only through his Son, Jesus Christ (John 10:9; 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5). We are weak, and we need our Savior desperately as we stumble along in this life (2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:19; Heb. 4:16). We need him for sanctification, to sustain our faith in trials, to help us persevere when persecuted, to even have the breath of life in our lungs. All of us are dust (Ps. 103:14). We literally can’t do anything apart from Christ, the True Vine (John 15:5).

Jesus is our lifeline. It is impossible for the believer to be self-sufficient, for we are utterly insufficient. Any other belief is a smokescreen, a facade. We must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Pet. 5:6). We must recognize our need for him, seeking him through prayer and through his Word.

Remain in His Word in Seasons of Weakness

When we rightly recognize our need for God in all things, we will prioritize seeking him in his Word. But of course, we all experience challenging seasons of life that throw us into survival mode. When you’re newly postpartum, fresh on the heels of grief, or experiencing a season of physical ailments, it’s helpful to have various avenues of hearing and meditating on God’s Word. When life leaves you feeling forgetful and too overwhelmed to study God’s Word, try:

  • Listening to the Word using an audio Bible like Dwell
  • Memorizing passages of Scripture using the In the Word Memory Journal
  • Reading or listening to a biblically-sound devotional
  • Leaving your Bible open in a place where you can read a little at a time throughout the day

Or maybe we really do need to just wake up earlier or spend less time scrolling on our phones. It might be that we need to rearrange our schedules and make room for the most important relationship in our life: our relationship with our heavenly Father. Circumstances differ from person to person, and only you can discern, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what steps you need to take toward God. 

Satan likes to deceive us into thinking we can achieve self-sufficiency. He’s been tempting us in this way since Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit. But we need God more desperately than we could ever truly comprehend. The amazing truth is that if we’ve fallen prey to the enemy’s scheme, we can repent right now and ask God for forgiveness. He is ready and willing to help us grow in our knowledge of our dependence on him.

Resisting the Lure of Self-Sufficiency - an article from Well-Watered Women - quote

Meet the Author

Brittany is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and mama to Theodore, William, and three babies lost through miscarriage. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically, making Christ their ultimate Treasure. You can find more of her writing at or follow her on Instagram @brittanyleeallen.


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