Though I sort of touched on the issue in the post, many of you guys really articulated something that’s been percolating in the back of my mind for a while: to truly live the Christian life of agape is to seek to serve others…but also to let others do the same for us.
Recently, especially with the girls’ frequent visits, I’ve sometimes worried that I’m about to hit a limit. Even with my husband giving 110%, sometimes I feel like I’m so maxed out that I won’t be able to deal with one more thing. “It’s just that I don’t have any help!” I thought to myself the other day. Immediately the wisdom of the comments to that post came to mind, and I wondered:
Is it really that I don’t have any help? Or is it that I don’t have any help that I am humble enough to accept?
To be fair, it’s not always pride that motivates me to turn down other people’s offers to lend a hand; I’m also a lazy control freak, so I have difficulty veering from my little routine or giving up any amount of control (and therefore risking that something might not be done the “right” way!) And yet, all of these things — pride, laziness, the inability to delegate — block me from letting others have the opportunity to know how good it feels to realize that you really made a difference in someone’s life today, to know how much you’re needed.
Ever since then, I’ve been doing some brainstorming and have realized that I’ve actually had a lot of offers for help in recent months:
- My mom said she could come help with laundry every now and then.
- My dad offered to pick up the tab for an occasional grocery store trip to help us with our budget.
- A friend offered to watch the kids for a little while if I ever need some time to myself.
- I’m on an email list of a great group of ladies at my church who are always taking turns cooking for one another, and one of them recently mentioned that they’d be happy to throw a couple casseroles my way if it would help me out.
And these are just a few of the unsolicited, explicit offers I can think of off the top of my head. Even friends who haven’t overtly offered to help would surely be delighted to be called upon if I really needed them — I know that when friends have asked me for favors it makes my day to be able to lend a hand.
I’ve realized this:
WHAT I SAY: “I wish I had help!”
WHAT I MEAN: “I wish I were rich so that I could hire a staff of cooks and housekeepers and professional diaper changers so that I could have help without ever having to sincerely reach out to a fellow human being and show them my vulnerable side, and without having to deal with all the unpredictability that comes with letting your neighbors help you in a way that’s convenient for them!”
I don’t like to admit that I can’t do it all myself, I worry that people will think I’m some kind of freeloader, it’s a challenge for me to give up control of even the minutia of my life, it makes me uncomfortable to veer away from my habits and do something different, etc. — these are the main problems, not a true shortage of people in my life who would be happy to lend me a hand if I need it.
So, starting now, I’m challenging myself to look at the areas of my life where I feel like I’m struggling or falling behind, and take a hard look at the question: is there someone I could reach out to and ask for help with this?
I’d be interested to know: Does anyone else struggle with this? If so, can you think of any ways that you might be able to let others help you? I’d love to hear the results of your own brainstorming session — maybe we can get ideas from one another.