I’ve had a change of heart regarding what it means to be an independent woman. I can be proud of my singleness and my ability to function without a large number of friends in my life. I can be proud of being an only child and growing up entertaining myself and being my own best friend. At the same time, I’m bombarded with messages about what an independent woman is: she doesn’t need a relationship, she can take care of herself, and she uses people for her own purpose. It’s confusing in light of my experience. And it’s confusing in light of what God says: we are made for relationship and community. So, which is it, dependence or independence?
My answer is neither! Becoming an independent woman is all about the tension of the two and here are three ways to do so…
1. Be in healthy relationships.
I’m finding that being independent doesn’t mean you are without dependence, close relationships with family, friends, and significant others. Having close ties doesn’t mean you aren’t an independent woman. In fact, if you’re actively participating in healthy relationships, you will probably err on the side of independence rather than co-dependence. Surround yourself with relationships that give you room to grow and change as an individual. Those relationships are going to broaden your horizons and help you consider different points of view alongside your own. The people around you should encourage you to be yourself and cheer you on towards who you are becoming and vice versa. Awesome friends, family, and mentors are going to be rooting for you and will give you room to process and journey without confining you to a set of expectations based on their own opinions and expectations.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to wonder, doubt, and admit that you are still learning. You are on your own adventure, and you’re proud of it. You’re not looking to the left and right living someone else’s idea for your life. Instead, ask God and yourself the hard questions in light of what you believe and what is going on around you. Growing towards independence is knowing that others can’t give you the answers. Their thoughts could lead you to go deeper and develop your own beliefs, but you ultimately decide. You can come to your own conclusions in light of grace and wisdom.
3. Be yourself always.
Independence is about being free to be who God made you to be by actively choosing to believe that He isn’t letting go of you. You are not tied down by opinions and the culture of the day. You are following the light that is guiding your path and walking unashamed, even when everyone else is looking at you with side eye and tilted heads. Being dependent on God is where our independence is found. When we let go of trying to please everyone and lean on love, grace, and forgiveness we soar. That starts by embracing who you are. Get to know yourself and don’t be ashamed of who you are.
Sis, being independent and being dependent go hand in hand. Being independent is a dance between dependence and grace. You are made to stand on your own, so you can live authentically beside others. You will thrive when you are seeking out healthy relationships, courageously making the journey through hard questions, and living committed to being yourself. The world doesn’t need another carbon copy of what’s culturally acceptable. The world needs you to stand on your firm foundation.
Want to read more on being a strong woman of grit and grace?
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