Society and the media emphasizes and rewards those who are “self-reliant.” Culturally speaking, America, as a nation is known for establishing herself as being separate, strong and “independent.” This value has transcended into how parents raise their children. Many children are raised given the message that it’s good to be strong and bad to show weakness.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Nowhere in the Bible are to walk the pathway of life “independent” of others. Yet many people believe this via the plethora of self-help books. Many believe if they simply read a book, they can fix what ails them. Granted, their symptoms might be decreased, but this is like putting a bandaid on an open sore without treating the inner disease that caused it.
The entire concept of “self-help” is an oxymoron. The only way you are able to “help” yourself is when you reach out for support. How can you help yourself if you break your leg? Can you set it yourself? Will reading a book or two fix it? Obviously, you need to go to the doctor.
So what happens when your struggle is invisible to the naked eye but none the less painful? Picking up a self-help book might help you learn the causes, signs or symptoms of a struggle – it might even map out steps to take to find relief. Yet “self-help” is no where to be found in God’s design. God – Himself – is in relationship with the Trinity. Jesus walked with the twelve.
The most important relationship that you have is your relationship with Christ.
When it comes to your own spiritual growth – there is only one book that can answer all of life’s questions, provide solutions, and guide one’s feet along the correct path. The Word of God. Wise counsel will always direct an individual to seek the face of God.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Consumers purchase a large portion of self-help books every year which indicates that there is a great need in this area. While books can provide helpful suggestions and life-skills, it is ill advised to solely rely on these materials. God provides healing within relationship.
The reality is that that facts rarely change people – the Holy Spirit does. God often uses those little moments when we show patience, kindness and give an encouraging word to make a difference in another persons life.
Find healthy, loving people who can give you the support, safety and structure that you need and seek His face as you do the work.
Christy Demetriades, Ph.D.