One afternoon, after working for a couple of hours on my worktable at home, I have decided to give walking on my both feet a try. My plan was to hop to the walkway connecting our living room to the bedroom. From there, I would let the crutches go and move to the bedroom on my feet and back.
With the help of my crutches, I hopped my way to the aisle that led to our bedroom. After finding a stable base for myself, I put my supports on the side. But what I thought a relatively easy-to-accomplish plan turned out to be a challenge. I froze as I figured out how to pace my steps. It felt like I would fall the moment I move a muscle.
I was caught off guard – at a loss about my feet coordination. It sank in that I did not know at all how to move my left and right feet safely and in sync with each other. That day, it felt like I was a one year old learning how to succeed in her first wobbly steps. On a whim, I groped after my crutches contemplating on sticking to them for the time being.
Within six weeks of use, I learned to be cozy with my crutches.
My husband would joke about how I might beat other long-term mobility aid users in a crutches marathon. I came to know how to maneuver and pace them in accord with my body movements that it appeared so natural for me to hop as fast or as slow depending upon my choice for the moment.
For a mother with two toddlers to take care, my developed crutches skill was a big help. My tallar fracture failed to reduce my capacity to function to a minimum. While I observed certain precautions, I could perform major mommy duties at large.
This was all well until after another six weeks that it occurred to me that using crutches was easier than trying walking. And without me knowing, the crutches had become a security blanket. Essentially, in those three months, I cultivated a sense of dependency as walking around on my mobility aid became as easy and natural for me as brushing teeth.
That afternoon in our unit’s walkway, the nature of a dependency affair made sense to me: the one thing you repeatedly do can mask itself into a need even if it is million miles away from being one.
Under The Power of Any
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” -1 Cor. 6:12 NKJV
In retrospect, dependency in itself is not wrong. As a matter of fact, God loves it when we are dependent on him. It is when our dependency on to any, be it a habit, people or an item, makes us inflexible and maladaptive that it becomes a problem. As the Apostle Paul put it, everything permitted in the Bible can be done, but not all may be beneficial to a given situation.
Using my crutches is not really wrong. I need it, and it makes walking around our house easier. However, when I start rationalizing my crutches use over pushing myself to walk again, it does more harm than help. It is because what we depend on has power over us. And anything that has power over us can control us.
Dependency creates an unnecessary attachment. And whenever we are attached to, say, a person or a habit, we find them difficult to let go even if doing so will do more good to our emotional, spiritual and professional well being. Allowing an option to occupy the need status is allowing us to be subjected to the power that is not of Christ.
“Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” –Proverbs 6:27-28 NKJV
While the Proverbs above is used frequently to warn Christians against adultery, its basic premise can also be applied to dependency: it can burn and sear your capacity to think wisely.
According to Dr. Clayton E. Tucker Ladd in Psychological Self-Help, dependency makes us feel we have a need that can only be met by the object of our dependence. This explains why alcoholics and substance abusers have to undergo rehabilitation. Their dependency on unhealthy habits clouds their judgments. And guess how their full-blown attachment to alcohols and illegal substance started? In a dependency affair – that decision to rationalize something because of an obscure benefit.
Through these verses in Proverbs, we are reminded that our choices have consequences. God’s forgiveness will not eliminate the costs of our decisions. He will not override our freewill and so does its effects. Consequently, if we elect to have an affair with dependence, it will rub off on our choices.
We cannot be dependent on something and assume it will not bring detriment in our lives. We will be burned and seared, sooner or later. Coming out from dependency affair with your integrity intact and judgment unclouded is close to impossible. Worse, the consequences may incapacitate us to be the men and women God wanted us to be.
Making A Choice
I hopped my way back to my worktable making sense of a new realization.
My right brain prompted, “If you don’t use your crutches, it will take you an hour to finish a household chore that can be done for 20 minutes.” And it sounded reasonable to me.
My left brain answered back with a probing question, “If you keep on using your crutches, when are you going to get back on your feet?” And I found it crucial for my long-term recovery.
However, the Spirit in me whispered, “What would Jesus do if He were in your situation?” And I was dumbfounded.
I stretched my both feet, stood up and stepped my left foot forward very slowly and then dragged my right foot on its side. I did the motion repeatedly until I made it to the bedroom.
It was such an awkward and painstaking walk. But I was all smile as I sit on the bedside. I knew if Jesus were there, He would do the same. And as slow and wobbly my steps were, I started learning how to walk again.
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