Have you ever heard a young child utter these words? I’m fairly certain we all have at least once in our life. “I can do it myself” is verbalizing independence, the ability to do things for and by ourselves. Learning independence is something we are taught from a young age, something expected, something necessary to becoming a productive adult in society, and at times our definition of the word becomes a yardstick we use to judge others.
In nature becoming successfully independent can mean the difference between life and death. Animals must learn to survive on their own seeking food and shelter or face the consequences.
What about us? Don’t we need to strive for the goal of becoming successfully independent – so good at taking care of ourselves that we have no need for others to help?
My answer would be NO (did I say that loud enough?) We….need…others. Yep, I just said that we need others. From the first pages of the Bible, it becomes obvious that we are not meant to face the storms of life alone. There will be times that we fall, that we hurt, that we cry, that we doubt, that we are overwhelmed, that we simply want to give up (sound familiar?).
“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:10 (ESV)
I think this verse makes it pretty clear that we can allow others to help us. You mean ask for help? That is exactly what I mean. Am I good at it? NO (did I say that loud enough?) I struggle to ask for help because _______________________. You fill in the blank. Depending on the situation it can be many answers. Maybe I’m too prideful and worried that others will think I’m weak and cannot take care of myself . Maybe I’m too impatient to allow others to get the job done. Maybe my expectations of others are too high, insisting they must meet my standard (insert judgmental yardstick here). Maybe I have lost trust that others will do what they say.
The list can go on and on, so back to the reason for this post. It’s about blessings. Blessing others by allowing them to bless us. Consider this – when we do not ask others to help us (whether we actually need it or not) we may be stealing a blessing from them. Does it make you feel good to help others? Do you feel you have received a blessing when you do? Yes, I do too. When I fail to allow others to help me I am taking away the opportunity for them to have those same feelings. When I do ask it becomes a two for one deal, one simple act can bless me, bless them and we both win.
Cara and I are very aware that each of us may be “too independent” as we work together in The Good Shepherdess Ministry and are making a conscious effort to allow each the ability and opportunity to help the other. Since we are both quite capable women, our focus is on giving a blessing, not about a need for help.
As we continue through the holiday season and into 2019, make it a point to GIVE OTHERS the blessing of helping you. To quote a commercial on TV, “You’ll be glad you did.”
Tend your flock well shepherdess.