Why do we want to do everything alone?

The desire for independence, self-reliance and self-development in society has made us so individualistic that there is almost no connection between people anymore. We communicate ‘dull’ through all kinds of social media, but our behavior becomes less social every day if we are not careful. Apparently it is easy and also quite practical to arrange everything from the safety of your home or from behind a screen, without in-depth human contact. You see it in all kinds of daily and household matters. You no longer have to go to the bank for a transfer or payment and you can order weekly groceries via the internet. A repeat prescription from the GP can be left via voicemail and an application for a mortgage can be done completely digitally. Wonderful developments, but personal contact between people is disappearing everywhere. Ultimately you do everything alone, nice and independently! Unfortunately, this development has also drastically changed much more important aspects of our lives. Where raising children used to be a family or sometimes even village process, we now do it alone or behind closed doors. If another parent reprimands your children, we almost immediately react because it is our child and we are raising it independently. We fight out crucial decisions on our own and solve problems on our own. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the tendency to do everything yourself is visible almost everywhere. The same process takes place in our spiritual growth. We also do that mainly ourselves and alone. And while Jesus answers the question about the greatest commandment with two commands, which have everything to do with relationships: ‘Love God above all and your neighbor as yourself’. The gospel is above all a connection between God and people. Parenting has everything to do with relationships and is not an individual process. You cannot give your child a parenting book or a parenting lesson every day. You share your life and let your child gain experiences in relationships with other children and adults. Likewise, spiritual growth is not something you do alone, learn from a book or see behind a screen, but rather develop in connection with other people who are also on the journey. What do you do with the content of a sermon in your church? We process almost all of this on our own. We tell some other congregation members that the sermon was beautiful or special, but everyone decides for themselves what we do with it. We have also become so individualistic in our religious lives that we hardly even think about asking someone what he/she did with the content of the sermon. Let alone that we inquire about each other’s mistakes or stumbling blocks in following Jesus. Apparently it feels safe to do it all alone, while almost everyone realizes that discipleship cannot be done alone. I also recognize these pitfalls in myself. Why do we want to do everything alone? What drives us away from the people we travel with and who have so much to offer us? I think it takes us ‘too much’ time and we are afraid of the vulnerability. We want to be fast and prefer to keep control ourselves, but that is precisely the core of the gospel: ‘You relinquish control’ and ‘growth is slow’. You choose to learn from Jesus together with others and help each other in the process of change. That is discipleship and Jesus said that it is ‘man-made’. Because people make disciples, that’s what Jesus told us in the great commission. Let us open our (spiritual) lives to others. Let’s embark on the adventure of change and growing up together. Be a little less independent and you’ll be in it together more often! Want to know more about ‘discipleship’? Come to the free training day in Haarlem on December 10

About Martin Koornstra

Getrouwd met Karin, 2 mooie dochters, passie voor Jezus, spreker, schrijver, trainer en een beetje gek!

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