The truth about dependency

Lee's Summit JournalMay 2, 2014 

Most often when the word dependency is thought of it’s in a negative context; dependency on drugs, dependency on alcohol, emotional dependency, dependency on money.

You hear about people with dependency problems and being co-dependent. It paints a depressing picture doesn’t it? It makes the thought of being dependent on anyone or anything seem like something to avoid.

What if dependency wasn’t something to avoid? What if it was really something that we come by naturally? What if it’s a matter of the perspective we’ve carried?

According to Webster’s dictionary, to be dependent means to be influenced, controlled or determined by something else; to rely on someone or something for support or aid. So if I depend on someone or something for support or aid I am considered dependent.

A baby depends on its parents for everything. Parents are in complete control over their children’s lives. It that a bad thing? Until a child is old enough to do everything for itself, it relies on its parents. It remains dependent. Is that negative?

We rely on family or friends for support when life throws us a curve ball. Is that so bad?

It’s not dependency that’s the problem. Dependency in itself can go both ways. It can be good if you depend on the right things or bad if you depend on the wrong things. The true problem comes when we decide to depend on things that can’t give us real or permanent satisfaction.

We are all born with dependency issues. Ingrained in each of us is a weakness that can only be filled by something spiritual; something supernatural. We are born to be dependent for a time on our parents and then eventually shift our dependency onto God. Without that shift of our dependency, we will become dependent on something else.

It’s just a matter of what we allow ourselves to depend on to fill us up; to gain some sort of satisfaction. Might it be something destructive like drugs, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, pornography, cutting or sex. It could be something more positive like a spouse, children, work, parents, pets, approval from others or food. Anything we rely on to feel good; to gain happiness; to find our self-worth is considered dependency.

As humans we have our frailties. We fail others. We even fail ourselves at times. To place our need for self-worth in the hands of fallible human beings or in our ever changing circumstances is always going to end in disappointment. To think that we can find complete happiness or satisfaction by depending on anything other than God will eventually end in discouragement.

Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have com that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)

The successful life, the abundant life comes through a feeling of great internal peace. It comes from relief of worry and stress. That only comes with shifting our dependence to the right place. Dependency on things other than God spiral us downward while dependency on God will spiral us upward.

We have a choice of what we will depend on. Will it be God or something else? The good news is, even if we choose something else we can always change our mind and decide to choose God.


Sherri Watt is the President and co-founder of non-profit ministry Restoration Road in Lee’s Summit. You can reach her at

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