I’m an independent. Not politically, but behaviorally. I have a natural bent toward doing things myself. I prefer it that way. Seems easier. Less conflict. Unfortunately, the fallout from this loner attitude is a reluctance to ask for help.
Why don’t I ask? Probably a combination of things. A fear of appearing incapable. Pride. The desire for control. And I suspect there’s some lust for praise mixed in as well. Whatever it is that drives my rugged individualism, I’ve lately become more aware of the negative aspects of “going alone.”
My awareness was heightened through a convergence of realities that amped-up my busyness. Part of the busyness I attribute to a growing family of seven. Some to a career change. Expanded opportunities. New ventures. A bit of writing. Plus, I have a mind that rarely shifts to neutral. Partner these with a body that’s crested 41 years and the recipe is ripe for being overwhelmed.
Still, crying “Uncle!” was not an option. My approach was to muster a bit more intestinal fortitude. Preaching to myself my best halftime speeches. Engage in a bit of chest-pounding. Even with my best self-help methods, my margin deteriorated to a papery thinness. But in my stubbornness I tarried on. Just me, myself and I. We can do it, yes we can!
So I thought.
Since it was apparent I wasn’t going to ask, God sent help. Not just because I needed it, but because someone else wanted to give it to me.
When help arrived, I felt vulnerable. Exposed. Like I was an imposition. At some point I had developed the errant perspective that asking for assistance with things I’m capable of doing was presumptuous – even lazy. Thankfully, God helped me discover in my recent busyness that being helped is not about weakness and inability. It’s about unity. Giftedness. Stewardship. Relationships. Obedience and love. In the end, it’s really about worship.
In my independence, my worship was misdirected. I was idolatrous but couldn’t see it. I was worshipping me. I was playing the martyr while seeking praise for my ability to do it all. My stubborn spirit teetered with instability and moodiness. My patience grew short. Anxiety reigned. I lost the ability to relax. I worked hard to mask these tensions, but my heart couldn’t deny that I had issues.
God has gifted me to administrate. I can get a lot of things done. I’m focused. I don’t quit. I do things with excellence. But too much of anything isn’t good. 19th Century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” So I’ve resolved to be on the lookout – for me, and my superhero persona.
I am grateful for my friend who helped me see how good it is to be helped. How we can work together. Use our collective talents and passions for a better result. Come to think of it, there are a few things I could use help with next week.