Editor’s Note: The following is part 1 of 2 of a live Crowdcast talk on Overcoming Doubt & Self-reliance by Lisa Martinez and Kelli Davis. You’ll be able to read and watch part 2 by Kelli on Friday 5/7/21. These talks are the last in a 4-week Revival Series on desert fruits presented by our discipleship team. The rest of the talks are found here on the blog and on our YouTube channel starting on April 14, 2021.
God has given each one of us gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. For us to continue to grow into a better version of ourselves, we need to rely on God and not on ourselves.
Here are three spiritual and practical methods to help your self-reliance decrease and your God-reliance increase.
1. Grow in God Reliance through Trust + Surrender
Reliance on God requires awareness.
- “I need you, Lord. I’m limited and you are not. I lack, you lack for nothing. I need your help, you want to give me everything according to Your Will.” Have confidence of God working in and through you, draw from His abundance, from His Living waters, not your own little spring.
- But do we just go to God when we need something? This is an immature love of God if it is solely based on what God can do for us instead of WHO He is. Our relationship with God changes when we WANT Him and need Him. We want to love and serve Him. It’s not begrudging or based on “what we can get” from God through prayer or doing things to try and earn His love or Heaven.
To need and want to rely on God requires that we trust Him.
- Do we lack trust in God’s goodness? (CCC #397).
“Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.”CCC #397
- Surrender requires trust. Can you trust when it’s so hard? When you can’t see a resolution?
From establishing trust, reliance on God then requires surrender.
- Emptying of self, which is spiritual poverty. “I can’t do this” alone, but with God and His grace, I can.
- When we let Him empty us by letting go, God fills us and can do the work in and through us. We do it with Him, not for Him as our Spiritual Dad, Fr. Joe O’Connor says.
When we surrender and trust, reliance on God is nurtured through union with Him.
- He invites us into union with Him, whether through prayer, suffering, serving others or whatever our calling
- What is our response to prayer and unity with God?
- Is it “Yes, Lord,” or
- “I’m too broken, busy, or not equipped…”
- God invites us, “Let me do it.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. (Read full quote here.)
2. Take Opportunities to Grow in Humility
The saints and the Scriptures all discuss that we embrace our littleness, and walk humbly with our God.
- Be childlike, not childish
1. To enter the kingdom, become like a child. Children rely on their Father.
- From “The Poco a Poco Podcast” by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, “God loves you in your mess. But he doesn’t love your mess.” Listen to “We’re Not Kids Anymore” here.
- St. Therese’s Little Way of Spiritual Childhood. Offering up our little sacrifices for souls.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.”
The proud want to rely upon their own strength.
- It takes great confidence and strength to surrender, to let God into your heart, your pain, and your mess.
- Allow him to come into your whole heart and all areas of your life. We often hold back the places we feel are too broken, or too messy.
- We are the ones who limit God and His power. God has no limit, but we can limit Him by refusing to let Him in our hearts, to work in our lives, or ask for His help and grace to do what He has for us.
- Prayers to help:
- The Litany of Humility here.
- Litany of Trust: Free English/Spanish PDF Downloads on the Sisters of Life website or for purchase here.
- The Prayer of St. Francis – “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” found here.
- The Surrender Novena, our #1 FREE download here, is also a very helpful tool to grow in trust and surrender.
Our doubt can create obstacles.
- We doubt His goodness, His plans for us.
- We may believe He has the ability to change things or overcome pain, suffering, or adversity for others. But what about for YOU?
- Letting go of doubt, fear, anxiety, and control provides God the room for greater interior freedom, peace and joy.
3. Get to the Root of the Sin of Pride or Ungodly Self-reliance
- Pride is considered the “mother of all root sins” because all sins can ultimately be traced back to our desire (like Adam and Eve) to do things our own way.
- There are some specific examples of how the vice of pride manifests itself in a myriad of ways written by Fr. Edward on SpritualDirection.com and some good remedies for it here.
- But pride manifests itself in an “exaggerated tendency toward independence and individualism” common in cultures that value self-sufficiency. This love of independence is often a disguise for selfishness, but they often call it “tolerance” or respecting others privacy.
- Pride also manifests itself as anger and criticism. Perhaps unwilling to serve others, hold a grudge, rebel against authority, need to be in control, manipulation, insincerity, and even lying to cover up mistakes.
- See the basics about the “Root of the Sin” concept below. It’s more than pride is a deadly sin — it’s ungodly self-reliance which produces bad fruits, is tied to wounds, and fueled by identity lies.
- Become aware of these areas where pride/self-reliance really have a hold on you…through wounds, lies, and inner vows…
- Our wounds, are interrelated with our sins. According to the JPII Healing Center, “Sin not only causes wounds, it also grows out of our wound…We need to examine the area of sin pattern and see behind the sin to the wound that is giving power to the sin.”
- Make a plan. We created a “Program of Life” or “Plan of Love” worksheet for our team.
- Basically, the program leads individuals through overcoming their root sin with a plan. Each person fills out the plan based on their own root sin and the opposite virtue for which to positively strive. Then it gives instruction and tips on how to do this on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.
- The spiritual life must be based on a positive striving for virtue. It can not remain on a level of, “just saying no” to our weakness, but has to be turned into “saying yes” to Jesus in the living of virtue. The virtue of humility will become a central focus of your spiritual life.
- Must rely on God, and his grace, to restore your soul and help you make any progress on the path to sanctity.
- Would listeners/readers be interested in hearing more about the Plan of Love and having access to the document? Leave a comment and let us know!
Also, read Lisa’s blog on “Trusting When It’s So Hard“