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    Accepting Help

    April 13, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    This post is the one I want to avoid. Talk of duty, carrying my own load, personal responsiblity–that is all attractive to me. I value hard work. I feel blessed that God gifts us with work, with a calling to enjoy and use for His glory. The question is what to do when something goes wrong.

    I am bad about accepting help. My husband tells me I am even worse about asking for it. I might love to help others, but I don’t usually relish the idea of letting others help me, unless I’m really desperate.

    Early in my marriage, I would get offended if Si tried to help me with the housework. Even though I had a 30-hour-per-week job outside the home, I wanted to be the one making the home. I wanted it to be perfect, and I wanted to make it that way myself.

    More recent events {like modified bed rest during my pregnancy with A.} required that I let go of certain household chores {vacuuming especially} whether I liked it or not. And what I learned about myself during that time was that early on I hadn’t been keeping the house for Si. If that were so, then I would have welcomed his partnership whenever he wished to offer it. I was doing it for me. I’m not exactly sure why, whether I was trying to prove that I could do it, or win some sort of imaginary wife competition. But it wasn’t the heart of service that refused his offers of help. It was the heart of pride.

    I mentioned before the passing of my old friend, Katy. The Final Entry on her blog says this about her:

     

    She loved with purity. Through and through Katy was about LOVE.

    She loved everyone around her with such a nurturing love that made it so natural for her to give to them, to serve them. You could with conviction say that Katy was never loving to be obedient or loving to be noticed, she just loved. And because she knew so well how to love, she was so able to receive love from others.

     

    I learned a lot from reading that last part. It is written that marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church, and yet a fly on the wall early in mine would have imagined a Church that refused much of Christ’s love. What I mean is that, in desiring to serve my husband without allowing my husband to also serve me, I inadvertently held him at arm’s length. Do I say to Christ, No, sir! Please do not love me in that way but only in this way that I have chosen? Neither should I say it to my husband.

    I am struck by that picture in my mind of Katy loving and loving and welcoming all the love the others had for her as well. I’m not sure why I resist loving and being loved with such wild abandon. Perhaps it is pride. But I know this: trying to carry a burden on my own, and chasing another away when they try to help, breaks my relationship with that person.

    There is much that is noble about personal responsibility. But there is nothing noble about refusing to accept another’s love.

     

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    6 Comments

  • Reply Brandy April 14, 2006 at 3:11 am

    Rahime, your mention of Ruth reminds me of Proverbs 31, where we learn that this ideal woman has maidens within her household. Since her children are called children, I always took this to mean that she had servants or something like that. I find it interesting that though she was a good manager, she was probably able to delegate, certain tasks to these maidens. I’ve had a lot of people say that instead of maidens we now have washing machines, dishwashers, etc. These are great tools, but they are no substitute for real, flesh-and-blood people when times are trying…

    Just some thoughts as I am thinking them… 🙂

  • Reply Rahime April 14, 2006 at 1:51 am

    This is definitely a lesson I’ve had to learn also in the past few years. I would prefer to be totally self-sufficient (and feel like I was for years before getting married), but have learned that it is a great blessing to receive help… especially when I don’t want to admit that I need it.

    Most of the time for me its easier, and more comfortable to give than to receive. I look at other women around me and see the same…I think it’s ingrained in us. I don’t suffer as much from the need to keep a perfect house :), but ccertainly do have far more balls in the air at any given time than I can really juggle. I’m having to constantly be aware of my limits and learn to speak up when I can’t do something.

    I am learning the lesson of receiving yet again as my friend, Ruth, has been living with us and helping me with work…she’s been a huge help that now I can’t believe I waited so long, but even now its difficult to accept it.

  • Reply Kim April 13, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    I don’t mind at all, but I think you help me dig as well =)

  • Reply Brandy April 13, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    Kim, I hope you don’t mind, but I think I’m going to quote you in tomorrow’s wrap-up, because I really like what you shared. 🙂 I often feel like your comments are like iron–they sharpen me and help me go deeper in thinking it all through.

    Kris, So I’m not the only one with imaginary friends? 🙂 This has been such a battle for me, too; I totally relate. When you said “not everyone has that help as an option,” it reminded me of one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while reading Created to be His Help Meet, and that is that I have it really good! The examples in the book are often the extremes–husbands addicted to porn, or completely self-absorbed. I was shamed when I realized my own ingratitude, and that I displayed behaviors that actually discouraged my husband’s displays of love.

    I know we never arrive, and that I will always look back on the past and see how “lost I was back then,” but sometimes I wish there were less cause to blush! 🙂

  • Reply kristie April 13, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    I laughed as I read your post, Bran, because I was vying for the imaginary wife award also. I still struggle with accepting Nate’s help, particulary without criticizing how he does it. It is definitely pride on my part– I can’t admit that someone else could do it as well or better than me. I’ve been working through it gradually, and find that it is conquered on a “good day,” but still creeps back out when I’m in a bad mood. Shame, shame. I’d be a wise woman to accept help graciously when offered. Not everyone has that help as an option!

  • Reply Kim April 13, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    I would love to be able to do everything myself, but it is the times when I can’t that I feel real community with believers. In our culture we are supposed to be self sufficient and independent, the opposite of what God wants. D and I were talking about loads turning into burdens turning into opportunities for the Christian community to serve.
    I love the way you related accepting help with accepting love. This is true in marriage as well as in the body of Christ. We look at Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 as a motto for our marriage and this idea that is foreign in our culture.

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