Although it feels like the landscape of this country is changing and is certainly in turmoil, we are still a nation based on independence. In fact, recently I saw a list of countries cross-referenced with the outstanding traits that define them. Independence was one that was specifically and uniquely American.
The Pilgrims, contrary to recent theories, did not come and settle here as a Christian nation, but as a free nation to worship as they chose. In England they were required to belong to the Church of England, and they wanted to be able to worship independently, in any way they saw fit.
One of the first things we did as a country was to fight a war for independence, and at the end, the founding fathers drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence which is still cherished as one of our most revered documents and pieces of history. They didn’t sign this lightly the way we sign a petition asking that a leash law be put into effect in a certain neighborhood. They signed it in the face of certain death should our side lose the war. That’s why John Hancock’s highly visible, bold signature is so impressive; he knew the risks and consequences and chose to sign regardless.
This sense of a can-do spirit, this individualism, this need for independence is deeply ingrained. It’s virtually in our DNA.
As an ideal, it’s an impressive trait, but it also needs to be balanced with the knowledge that on a daily basis we can’t do it alone. We need friends, family, people we can count on. I also firmly believe we need the power of prayer. We can’t do this alone. We can’t even do it with just friends and family. We need faith and trust in God to make it through.
Recently my DNA, my independent spirit, has been trying to override my belief system. Instead of loosening my grip and releasing my worries into God’s care, my fingers have tightened into white knuckles and death grips. It’s why I sit writing this at 4:30 in the morning instead of slumbering peacefully in my bed.
It’s why when I check to see the time in the middle of the night, my mind immediately jumps into a rapid-fire-problem-SEEKING machine. It’s why my tired brain wonders and worries for some irrational reason about Somalian pirates coming to the heart of London (where my daughter will just happen to be living), gain access and drain her bank account, leaving her stranded in the cold, hostile world of the English, who, by the way, probably still harbor a deep-seated vendetta for losing the War of Independence.
See what I mean?
I don’t know when or how this happened. I have a feeling that the first couple of times crazy thoughts struck, I failed to immediately hand them over to a higher power. I think it shows how much attention we need to apply to keep us from slipping into bad habits.
Maybe it’s time to refocus and approach prayer with open hands and a trusting mind, to hand over worries and crazy thoughts to Someone who has a much better grip on things. I mean, how else are we going to keep the pirates out of London?