“There are three types of baseball players — those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened” (Tommy Lasorda).

OUR IDEA FOR TODAY, SELF-RELIANCE, CAN BE CONSIDERED FROM DOZENS OF DIFFERENT ANGLES. The common thread, however, is simple. It has to do with being a self-starter. For example, consider these thoughts: “Self-sufficiency has three meanings. The first is that one should not depend upon others for one’s daily bread. The second is that one should have developed the power to acquire knowledge for oneself. The third is that a man should be able to rule himself, to control his senses and his thoughts” (Vinoba Bhave).

(1) Seeing to our own needs. Flora Robson said it very well: “Ask God’s blessing on your work, but don’t ask him to do it for you.” Self-reliance doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize our dependence on God’s grace (and even the help of other people when we’re helpless), but it does mean that taking care of ourselves is not something we expect other people to do. Our daily bread is our own responsibility.

(2) Doing our own thinking. Each of us can be grateful for what we’ve learned from other individuals, but self-reliance means that we make our own decisions about the truthfulness and applicability of what we’ve learned. We don’t outsource our thinking to someone else, expecting them to take over the management of our minds.

(3) Ruling our own passions. Things like self-discipline and self-control are among the hardest of life’s lessons to learn. Yet we must take responsibility for these things. From time to time, others may provide some helpful controls (governmental laws, employer policies, family rules, etc.), but at some point we must learn to do what’s right because it’s right, with or without external restraint.

As you can see, each of these is a different way in which we should be self-starters. We can’t wait for others to feed us, to think for us, or to restrain us. Instead, we have to take the initiative and do whatever we can. When life is less than happy, we focus on whatever improvements we can make, and we leave the rest in God’s hands. In short, we take responsibility for our own choices. For it is a well-known fact: when we blame others, we give up our power to change.

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone needs to be” (Clementine Paddleford).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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