Sunday, November 27, 2016

When I Don't Want to Ask for Help

Argh. I was in fits. Grumpy. Frustrated. Sinfully uncommunicative. And in His gentle, prodding way, God said (through my husband!), "Have you asked for help? All you have to do is ask."

"But I don't want to!" I said with a foot-stomp in my heart . "I want to do it myself. I want to do it my way..." And that's when I realized this was another opportunity to grow in Christlikeness, a.k.a. humility.

My conversation with the Lord continued over the next few days and went something like this:

"I've been working on saying no with Your help. And You're right. I'm not the answer to everyone's problem. I'm learning to pray first and think about what's best before jumping in. It's called more-of -You-and-less-of-me. With Your help, I am applying boundaries and priorities. It's okay to say, 'No.'"

Read email. Fix meals. Spend time with family. Sweep floors. Pack for upcoming trip.

"Okay, God, yes, the last couple of months You've shown how I struggle to admit I'm wrong and ask forgiveness. The people who live with me are gracious and kind, but it's got to stop. Pride is keeping me from admitting and owning up to my sin. I need Your grace to humble my heart and ask forgiveness. I get it. Yes, You're right about that, too."

Car trip. Forgot child's swimsuit at home. Failed to warmly greet family member. Lying awake at night.

"Yes, Lord, yes. I do get defensive when people offer suggestions or criticism. You're right. It's wiser--and better--to learn from others and admit my limitations than feel important in my own mind. It's another opportunity to grow."

Travel home. Laundry. Cheer at ball game. Send child back to college.

"But, really, Lord? Now I need to ask for help? Haven't I changed enough? I thought I was getting this, but maybe we could try the remedial program? I want a break. And that whole 'asking for help thing--'... It's so much easier to do it myself. And it's loving others when I don't inconvenience and interrupt them. I'm helping by not asking."

"But maybe I want them to be inconvenienced," the quiet Voice says. "Maybe I want you to need others. Maybe others need to be needed. This is an opportunity for them to serve Me. It's an opportunity for you to admit your need. It's good for everyone."

"Really, Lord? I need to ask for help?" Maybe tomorrow....

And in all of this I'm reminded that I, that we, are flawed, weak, needy, sinful, incomplete. Even in conviction and confession I am weak; unable to get past myself (Did you count the "I's" in this post?!). We are wholly dependent on God; on His sovereign mercy and grace. It is only as I move out of the picture and focus on His goodness, grace, sufficiency and work that He is glorified. It's time to unclench my fist and allow the Lord to be central; to change me as He will, according to His good pleasure.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:1-11)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (1 Thess. 5:17)

For more conviction (or help) check out this list of manifestations of pride and humility. Book recommendations: From Pride to Humility by Stuart Scott, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller,  Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney, Humility: the Forgotten Virtue by Wayne Mack.

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