October 7, 2013

Learning to Accept a Little Help

It's funny how I'm still learning stuff about myself. It feels like I should have a firm grasp on who I am, but sometimes life throws a situation at me -- and it changes my perception of myself.

Over a week ago, I had one of those days. You know the kind I mean. Nothing went right.

It started when I had to bring my dog Chloe to the eye specialist -- again -- because her eye had been watering and infected for two weeks and the medicine wasn't fixing it. The vet took a look and declared that she needed minor surgery...and he could do it right then.

We knew the surgery was a possibility, but man, having to make a decision so fast -- especially when we found out how much it cost -- threw me for a loop.

So I left my dog there and went home to finish up some work. Then I cleaned my house because we were having small group (aka twelve people) over that evening. I turned the oven on so I could pop the lasagna in the moment I returned from picking Chloe up after her surgery.

However, by the time I got all the recovery instructions explained to me and fought traffic to get home, I had only one hour until small group.

And the lasagna would take two hours to bake.

I had nothing to feed people.

I got desperate. Called Olive Garden, but to feed just 4-6 people, it was going to cost $54. Considering I'd just spent a lot on my dog's eyes, well... that wasn't an option.

I was about to call and order some pizzas from Pizza Hut when a friend from small group called and offered to make something. She was already making a smaller dish for the people in our group with allergies and knew of my plight (I'd texted frantically!)...and she had extra.

So my friend brought the food and everything worked out.

Thing is...it was hard for me to accept that help. Like, really hard. I felt guilty, like I should have had it handled. Like I'd be irresponsible. Like I'd inconvenienced her.

See, I love helping other people when they're in a bind. It comes naturally to me (my spiritual gift is mercy).

But I saw something in myself that day that smacked me in the face...I like giving help but not receiving it.

God wants us to reach out to others, yes. But I think He also wants us to accept help from others when we need it. Just like it gives ME joy to help others, it gives them joy to help me. I don't view it as an inconvenience to help out a friend, and the same goes for them.

I realized something else. The underlying reason I don't like accepting help...is pride.

I like feeling like I have it all together. Like I don't need help. Like I've got stuff covered.

I don't want people to think I don't.

Wowza.

I don't like that about myself. Because the thing is, this translates not just to my not being able to accept help from other people...but also from God.

And ironically, the moment I think I have it all together and don't need someone else -- that I don't need Him -- is the moment I've truly failed.

Your Turn: Do you have trouble accepting help? I'd love to hear of a time that a friend blessed you in some way!

*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

14 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. I learned this lesson (the first time) that it takes almost more humility to accept help when I became a mom. To me, that was something that should have come naturally and not require help, but let's just say I ended up snatching up my daughter and sobbing in a Carrabba's bathroom. Low point. But it's definitely a day-to-day decision!

    I know that day for you was no fun, but I'm proud of your strength and that God gave you (yet another) way out. Love hearing stories about when He does that! :)

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    1. Aw, that sounds so sad! :( But God often uses those extremely sad, humbling moments to show us our need for others, doesn't He?

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  2. Hehe, fact: I actually love it when people help me with things. Love it. Especially if it involves any kind of housework or cooking. So I guess this is one of the insanely FEW things we don't have in common. Haha!! BUT where tend to struggle sometimes is remembering to ask for help...from people or God. I'm totally willing to accept it if it's offered...but it's hard for me to remember that I can go to God with anything...ANYTHING...and that God has placed amazing people in my life to go to for help. I don't know why but while receiving help feels great, asking for it can feel a little humbling...that's probably the part I don't love. :)

    Got me thinking today, Linz! :)

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    1. What?! We AREN'T the same exact person?? This may throw off my entire groove!! :)

      But yes, I can relate to it being difficult to ask for help too.

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  3. I found great freedom in being able to say (on a regular basis) I don't have it all together. But there was a time I tried to, and if I didn't, I faked it. Needless to say, I struggled with anxiety and it built a barrier between me and the Lord, because while I asked for His help, I really wanted to fix things on my own. when I can fix things and "come through" it makes me feel good about myself. Finally, I grew the courage to ask God to knock down the barrier. Changed my life. When I feel that pride setting in, I do things like write a series on humility on my blog. ;) lol

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    1. I hear you. I remember when my mom was sick and people told me how strong I was. Ha. I was sitting there doubting God's very existence! But I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to wreck their image of me.

      Image. What a small word for such a destructive thing.

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  4. I relate to this, Lindsay. And I'm always humiliated when I see how pride has wiggled its way into my mindset yet again.

    I used to pride myself on being independent, but over the last number of years, God has shown me that He created us to be interdependent. We aren't strong enough to do "it" all on our own. We need Him, and the humility to ask for help/accept help from others. When we refuse their help, we deny them a blessing.

    I had a health situation a few years ago that had me in a humble place all summer. I am blessed to have a circle of friends, and we're "doing life together." They jumped in, took my kids so my husband could be at the hospital with me for my procedures, provided meals (gluten and dairy free, no less!) and encouraged me by visiting with me. I was so humbled and blessed by their help and their caring. I've learned a lot from them about seeing others' needs and stepping in to meet the needs of others. There's a beautiful grace in accepting help. :)

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    1. Aw, what sweet friends!! "There's a beautiful grace in accepting help." Well said, friend. Well said.

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  5. I'm guessing your friend received joy from helping.... (-: You are a lovely person, Lindsay! I'm blessed to be your friend. And, oh my, do I relate to pride lurking around unknown corners of my life.

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    1. I'm guessing she did. She's pretty awesome like that. :)

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  6. OOh! I hear ya! Back when I started writing, I thought everything I wrote was perfect (yeah, I really did--LOLing at my old self here). It's only when you start accepting critiques and realizing others actually KNOW what they're talking about b/c they're farther along the path than you are that you can start changing your writing for the better, making it much more than you ever thought it could be. Same thing w/parenting, or marriage...you have to be willing to ask for advice and help when you need it. You might think you've got it all together, but inevitably, there will even be a point where NO ONE can help you but God. You have to get to that point of humility where you'll admit that and cry for His help. I think our own inadequacies/failures help us gear up for those times when all we have is God, too. Great post, Lindsay, and hoping your doggie's eye is better!

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    1. "You might think you've got it all together, but inevitably, there will even be a point where NO ONE can help you but God."

      Amen, amen, amen!!

      (And yes, her eye is much better!)

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  7. I used to struggled asking for help...and then I had twins. But, even then, it took me a while to reach out and ask for help. My biggest thing is that I don't want to inconvenience people. Since having the boys, I've actually learned how to accept help for even random strangers. :) I'm still not the greatest at asking, but I'm getting much better. I'm so happy you had help when you needed it most. I wish I could be closer to help!! :)

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    1. I wish you could be closer too!!! And yes, I'm so very blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people.

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