What is Self-Reliance?

What is Self-Reliance?

Written by Cheri Stirling

In our world today, there is this increasing pressure to become reliant on something. Reliance on the government support, reliance on the credit card to make it to the next pay day, reliance on Netflix to help us chill after a long day, ect. But as we look at patterns throughout the scriptures, we find the Lord wants us to rely on Him, not the things around us. The Church of Jesus Christ has a long standing history of encouraging its members to become “self-reliant” and provide for our families as best we can for many years.

Self-reliance is being able to provide the necessities of life for yourself, and your family. We see this emulated in several ways, such as when families grow food in a garden, someone learns how to do home repairs on their own, or perhaps becoming first aid certified. On the Honey + Lilies Blog, we tend to revise the regular definition, and focus our journey on self-reliance to being able to provide for our family by becoming wholly reliant on the Lord through developing habits that lessen our dependence on outside sources. 

Why make this change? Because as we focus on becoming self-reliant, the Lord is able to work miracles that maybe we don’t even see. Some people call this the “Lord’s Math”. It works outside the bounds of our understanding. When the disciples went to the Lord at the end of long day of teaching, they said, ‘This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.” (Matthew 14:15) But the Lord responds, “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” This must have caused some anxiety in the new disciples, because among 5,000 people, they had a merely five loaves of bread, and two fishes. How on earth were they supposed to ‘give them to eat’? 

As we are obedient to His counsel, that brings miracles. I believe that as we work to become more self-reliant, particularly in the wrapping up scenes of the latter-days, we will also be more able to see His hand in our lives, blessing us with the seemingly-impossible, much like the loaves and fishes. This may look like finding a neighbor who has an abundance of apples this fall, and you are able to make applesauce with your new canning skills, or perhaps the Lord tells you to start making freezer meals, so you have something to pass along when your neighbor is sick. 

The Church suggests seven main areas where we can become self-reliant. These are: debt, education, employment, finances, food storage, gardening, and mental and physical health. These temporal areas of preparation are an important addition to our spiritual preparation for the Lord’s return.



Elder Robert D. Hales said, “Only when we are self-reliant can we truly emulate the Savior in serving and blessing others.” (A Gospel Vision of Welfare: Faith in Action As we find ways to lessen our dependence on outside factors in these areas, the better prepared we will be to help those around us. Imagine how you could help those around you who are struggling, if  you don’t have a credit card bill to worry about. Or how you could share your extra food from a successful garden to help a neighbor who is struggling to put food on the table. 


This week, take some time to discuss what self-reliance goals you should set with the Lord!


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