Have you thought about our dependency verses our ability to be self-sufficient? Have you tried becoming self-sufficient only to find that you're still dependent?
Just this week I was talking to a friend who shared with me that there's an alfalfa hay shortage in California right now. Alfalfa won't be cut again until May and a lot of people who raise goats need it for their animals. So if they don't have a barn with some set aside... well, I don't raise goats yet, so I'm not sure what the alternative is, but let's just say she was quickly seeking out enough to get her herd through til May.
The realization of our dependency can be discouraging and some people will give up when they come to this conclusion. But I think it depends on your perspective.
First, you must recognize that ultimately we're always dependent on God whether we acknowledge it or not. He is the one who provides every single thing we require down to the air we breathe (and then some!). So self-sufficiency is a relative term since no one will ever be 100% dependent.
Second, when viewing our dependency on others, we need to think of it in terms of a continuum. On one end is total dependency while on the other end, there is the ultimate self-sufficiency, humanly speaking. Few will ever achieve that and for good reason. It's brutal! And most of us really don't want that much self-sufficiency. Think of a person that is beyond going off-grid and lives out in the wild with only what he can hunt or scavenge by using handmade weapons, shelter made with materials from nature, and clothes made of animal skins. Hmmm... not what I had in mind. You either?
Finding a place on that continuum that moves us as far from total dependency as possible while still enjoying life will be different for each family and individual. Things one person can't live without will seem ridiculous and excessive to another, while someone else may think it silly to sacrifice something for so much work and very little payback. We must be careful not to become prideful or critical of where others decide to land on the continuum.
That said, as a society, we've moved closer and closer to the 100% dependency and it's reaching the point where many feel a sense of entitlement without much in terms of hard work. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to wear out my body at 35 like many of our ancestors did, but on the other hand, where will we be 5, 10, or 20 years from now as a society if we get to the point that a hard days work means only an a couple of hours in front of a computer?
To be dependent on others 100%... Is this really what Christ meant when He said in Matthew 6 that he would meet all our needs? And did he really mean never save? Never save in a bank account, never save any extra food, never save resources? Just what did He mean?
When we look at scripture as a whole, the message is clear: Don't worry, trust God. Work hard. Set some things aside. Share. (Read Matthew 6 again and look how many times He uses the word "worry"). Never does he forbid saving and storing except when done out of pride or greediness. Noah prepared. Joseph stored and saved. Proverbs is full of verses on working hard and storing away. Jesus and the disciples saved some money because Judas was the one who was in charge of keeping it for the group. And while Jesus sent them out to preach earlier in His ministry without supplies, later in Luke 22 he tells them to take money and supplies with them.
So back to wrap up the thoughts on dependency v. self-sufficiency... When you find yourself dependent in some area, don't feel defeated because you don't want to set your goal to be 100% self-sufficient anyway. Pray and determine where on the continuum God wants you to work towards. Ask Him what you should store, for how many, and for whom. With God as your guide, determine what you will continue to depend on others for. And what can they depend on you for? And finally, how will you acquire it: bartering? trade? payment?
Meditate on that this week if you will.
How I Prepared This Week
This week, for the Preparedness Challenge, I added 10 more chicks to my flock and worked on my garden layout for the season (more on that another day). I didn't add to my food storage because it was the end of the month, but I hope to next week. Tomorrow I make soap (finally!), then I plan to tackle Greek Yogurt and maybe cultured butter. If I do these things, I'll be feeling pretty good about my weekly preparedness. Keep me accountable!
Cute, aren't they! Four Buff Orpingtons, four Rhode Island Reds, and two Cuckoo Marans. I'm adding the Orpingtons because they are dual purpose and very hardy here. The Reds are outstanding layers, and the Marans are excellent brooders. I'm kind of hoping there's a rooster somewhere in there by accident. I've never kept any roosters, but I'm thinking I'll give it a try if one just happens to be in the mix.
Want to share what you did this week to meet the Preparedness Challenge? No requirements, just finish the sentence below and leave a comment or write a post and connect up with the Linky below! (Don't forget to add the picture above!)...
"This week, for the Preparedness Challenge, I _____________________..."