Self-sufficiency has become such a buzz word nowadays. The minute you hear it, so many different images come to mind. A solar-paneled cabin deep in the woods with goats and chickens and firewood stacked up high with a huge garden laid out neat in rows. Preppers with underground bunkers and enough storable food to last for two lifetimes. And then come the not so extreme images. The ones of apartment gardens, backyard suburban chickens, and repurposing everything you can possibly imagine into wonderful and creative items.
I believe in self-sufficiency. I think it is a good thing. I want to be self-sufficient. I really truly believe that we should not be quite so consumer happy and maybe focus on producing items that we can. Maybe we should not always go out and buy something new the minute the old one breaks down.
We have chickens. I would love a couple of goats. We cut wood to burn for the winter. We have a reasonable-sized garden. I would love to have a small hydro-powered system. I want to can more food, dry more garden produce, and get some storable foods.
Why? Because I like the security of knowing that if something happens, we will have a small security blanket. I am not a massive prepper. (Props to you out there who are!) I am also not someone who goes out and buys something new every time something breaks down. I like to think I am more of a middle of the road type. Someone who re-uses to an extent, prepares for emergencies to an extent, and tries to live within their means as much as possible.
But then I think about the flip side of this situation. What does self-sufficiency really mean? It means relying on oneself. Producing, using, and maintaining all that you need. In theory, this is a good thing. But the more I think about this, the more I realize that we were not created to be self-sufficient creatures. Our God did not create us to be self-sufficient. From the moment of conception, to birth, and beyond, we are dependent on someone else. We are dependent on our mothers for our birth. We are dependent on our parents for our continued growth and well-being. As we grow and mature, we become dependent on our peer groups for our own mental sanity.
And I fear that we lose sight of the fact that God never meant for us to be self-sufficient. He meant for us to rely on Him as we rely on our earthly parents. He wants us to come to Him with our needs, our wants, our everything. When we try and be self-sufficient from God, we fail, miserably. Our creator, created us to be dependent on Him. So while we go about our lives looking for self-sufficiency in whatever form, we must remember not to take it too far. To remember that we are not in control, that we are dependent on Him for the now and for the future. As the Bible says in Matthew 6:26-29,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”
So how do we balance to two? How do we balance wanting that security while also trusting in God to take care of us? Honestly, I think this looks different for every person and every situation. We need to listen to His calling, we need to listen to where He is leading us. And we must trust enough to follow and believe that He will provide for our every need.
What does self-sufficiency mean to you?