I have met many people who tell me in either words or body language that they value their independence above all else. When self-reliance becomes our highest ideal, though, is that not being dependent on independence?

On the eve of Independence Day here in the US, I am especially drawn to this idea. Independence implies liberty. Whether as a nation or an individual, to be dependent on no one means having total freedom. When our freedom is threatened, we tend to rebel against what threatens to limit us. If you think about it, our nation was born from rebellion. Tyranny tends to do that to people.

The same holds true in our personal relationships. This week, I heard that a colleague is seeking a divorce due to her husband’s physical abuse. It’s so sad. Like many others, I thought: “you’d never know that was going on in their marriage.”

Does she have a right to seek independence? Absolutely. I hurt for her, though. Another wonderful woman’s heart has been damaged by the angry actions of a selfish and broken man. Her trust will now be shattered. She will undoubtedly rethink her need to be dependent on a relationship or on a spouse.

There are so many single people out there who have freedom, but only after being hurt badly. They have independence that they did not even really seek. To soothe their wounded hearts, they have become dependent on independence. They are lone wolves, self-convinced that lonely liberty is all that is left. The walls are up.

There is a middle way, however. We do not have to choose between being dependent on others or independent from others. The best relationships are interdependent, respecting individual liberties while building connections that seek only the best for the other party. Imagine if each partner in a relationship put the feelings, needs, and well-being of the other above their own. Such selflessness from both people would ensure that neither would ever be short-changed. If I am only ever looking out for your good, and I know that you are only ever looking out for mine, we both win…all the time.

In the Bible, Phillipians 2:3-4 says “do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

That is the ideal, but is it only wishful thinking? Not at all. Despite having a broken human nature that leans toward being selfish, we can learn how to be self-less. Just as there are plenty of examples of bad relationships, there are also many, many examples of good ones. It’s just that—like my story above—the bad ones often seem to stick out more.

Are you living as one who is being dependent on independence? If so, let me assure you that I completely understand. I often must fight against it, too. My Enneagram Type 7 personality loves freedom. Likewise, being a Sigma male makes me a lone wolf. I love independence, but I also recognize that interdependence is really the better way because it truly makes two become as one.

Christian author Joni Eareckson Tada describes this well. “I have an interesting perspective on depending on others,” she said. “I think it gives people a chance to serve. And I’m not so much big on independence, as I am on interdependence. I’m not talking about co-dependency; I’m talking about giving people the opportunity to practicing love with its sleeves rolled up.”

Being interdependent gives the other person the opportunity to serve you with their love. Total independence deprives you of being fully loved, and it also deprives the other person from using his or her unique self to love you completely. It’s a lose-lose. Depending equally on each other in unity, however, is the win-win. I’m going to strive for that; how about you?

Project Eden: Brief Update

I did my first book signing at a local craft fair last month! For a hot, Florida day, it was pretty successful—I sold 19 books! I’ll start looking for other events where I can do this now that I’ve had some practice.

I want to thank all of you who’ve been reading the book, writing reviews, and giving me feedback! So far, the reports are all good, and I can tell you’re already anxious for the second book in the trilogy, Planet of Perdition. I guess I’d better get going on that one now!

Please remember to share my website link in your favorite social media. Also, let people know that Planet of Eden is available as an eBook on Amazon if they like using a tablet.

Be well, fellow Edenites, and be awesomely interdependent.