I could have done it by myself.
But that would have just been stupid.
Not that I didn’t think about it . . . a lot.
I awoke this morning to the sound of my two-year-old slamming open my bedroom door. Then my oldest daughter emerged from her room wrapped in her fleece blanket and looking for breakfast.
That’s when I heard it: my middle daughter scratching out the first words of her day. She sounded like a desert travel who has gone too long without drink or shade. “Mom,” she whispered, grasping at her throat, “water. I need water. Can’t . . . talk . . . . can’t . . . swallow. Water.”
And so it began. It’s the moment you look at your massive to-do list and the calendar showing all the places you need to be and then you glance at your child’s thermometer and you realize it ain’t happening the way you planned. And that’s okay because she’s more important than checking off tasks on a piece of paper.
I started mentally moving activities around on my week-long chart of things to do and considering creative menu planning to help me stretch the food we had for four days, my next chance for grocery shopping. Except we didn’t have bread. And only a day’s supply of milk. This could be a problem.
I called the doctor’s office and they kindly gave me the only appointment open that day, which sadly was right in the middle of nap time Still, I was grateful they squeezed us in at all.
After I called the school, I glanced back at my calendar and remembered that I had to lead worship for a women’s Bible Study group the next day, a commitment I had made over two months ago.
Then I came up with a masterful plan.
I’d just make my two-year-old skip her nap today and drag her to the doctor’s office for my other daughter’s Strep test. Then I’d cart them both, sick child and no-nap child, through the grocery story because without bread I couldn’t even feed my family sandwiches for dinner. After that, I’d take them both by the church and clean up and prepare the Bible Study room for my small group.
Then the next day, I’d bring my toddler and my sick daughter, along with a cup of water and a throw-up bucket, to the ladies’ group where she could sit next to the piano while I led worship.
Why not? I’ve done crazy stuff like that before. It could work.
Maybe. But it would be stupid.
So, I emailed a friend and asked her to lead Bible Study for me that night and she even offered to clean up the room after our project from the week before.
Then I called my mother-in-law and asked her to watch my girls while I led worship the next day. She asked if I needed help with the two-year-old during the doctor’s visit in the afternoon during nap time. No, of course I don’t need help, no way, I can do it . . . Well, actually, to be honest, help would be really nice.
I can’t be the only one who does this, practically killing myself at times all to avoid asking others for help. Somehow, requesting help from others is always more difficult than asking God for a hand.
Because I am Woman, hear me roar!
Because I hate to inconvenience others who are also busy.
Because it feels really good when you’ve practically killed yourself doing things on your own to survey the results of the stress and realize “I Did That Myself.”
Yet today when I made my calls and emails to ask for help, guess what? People were happy to help. Not only that, they even heaped on all kinds of blessing and grace, helping me in ways I hadn’t even thought to ask.
This is what we are supposed to do for each other, loving one another with self-sacrificing, abundant-blessing love. In fact, Paul told us this was part of fulfilling Jesus’ instructions: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, ESV).
Sometimes that means we’re the ones stooping down to lift the load of another to carry it a while on our own backs. Sometimes we’re the one others lean on, the person others call in times of need and distress.
And that’s a joy to do.
But then there are those days when our own load is pushing our shoulders low to the ground or we realize that short of cloning ourselves, we just can’t get it all done.
When someone notices our burdened limping and asks to help us, we too often reject them. We deprive them of the blessing God would give them for pouring themselves out for another.
Instead, we stress ourselves and our families out when we pridefully insist on doing it all ourselves.
This isn’t about taking advantage of friends and family out of laziness or selfishness. It’s about the mutual bearing the burdens of “one another.” I’m part of the “one another,” and so are you. God didn’t design anyone to be the burden-bearer for others all the time. He designed us to have times to carry and times to rest, times to give help and times to receive it.
After all, even Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus during the walk to Golgotha (Mark 15:21).
Today, I just needed a little help with my load. Instead of pretending I didn’t, I needed simply to receive that help and be thankful.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King