I’m going to write a post from time to time about things that I’m working on “letting go” in my life. 🙂 Nice huh? No one ever wants to be the wife/mom who “lets herself go” but I’m not talking about that kind of letting go. I’m talking about things that I tend to hang on to (control freak!) that I would be better off letting go. There are several that I’ve been thinking about lately, so I thought I’d turn it into a mini-series on my blog. 😉 As I go along, I’m sure there will be more things I think of on the way. Perhaps you do not know this about me (snicker) but I tend to be one of those “in control” people. I really do try not to be one of those “must-control-everyone-else” types though. The plain truth though is that when it comes to me I have a “need” to be in control. Now God’s still working on me, and I want to grow and change as He does, so I’m working on letting go of some of those areas where I’ve tried to be in control.
A prime example and the topic of today’s “letting go” post is HELP.
About a week before Ella was born my mom and dad sailed to my rescue by coming out to help with the boys. Mom had been telling me over and over that if I needed her to come out early she would be there ASAP. However, I didn’t ask her to come out. I was quite sure that I could deal with it all, and that I should be able to deal with it all. But the truth was, I wasn’t dealing with “it” well at all! I was exhausted due to a LOT of lack of sleep, and frustrated with my two small boys for being… well, small boys basically. I was frequently biting off more than I could chew (i.e. dresser project, arg!) and thinking that I should, at 9 months pregnant, be able to get all my usual stuff done along with whatever else flitted across my brain.
Fortunately my parents recognized that I really did NEED help and they came along to give it. I will be FOREVER grateful to them for seeing that I needed help and actually helping! Love you, Mom and Dad!!!
Which brings me to the letting go part. After some introspection on the subject I realized there are several reasons why I have a hard time accepting help and an even harder time asking for help.
The first is ME. I am and always have been a very independent person. So rather than ask for help or accept help (and those are 2 different things believe me!) I’ve always just felt like I could do it myself. I remember as I grew up coming across certain people, even as a child, who had to have EVERYTHING done for them. From a 14 yr old having to have someone else turn on the shower for them to one of my high school campers who had never made her bed or swept a floor in her life! (Ha, cabin clean-up was a shock to her system, believe me!) I just never functioned that way. If I didn’t know how to do something I usually tried something till it worked or was a complete disaster. Ha ha!
Due to that personality trait of mine, I tend to feel like I should just be able to take care of stuff that comes my way. That’s not a bad thing in general, but it can be a fault when I start to think that I don’t deserve help or that I shouldn’t be helped. Because life will bring along instances where help is necessary. It can so easily become a point of pride to refuse help because I think I’m strong enough, or at least should be, to weather any and everything on my own. Duh!
The first part of my “issue” with help was my own problem. The second has to do with others. I don’t want to sound like I’m putting the blame on other people, but maybe this will be a challenge to all of us to be genuine in loving and serving each other. Part of the reason I don’t like to accept help from people is because I’ve had more experiences than I like with disingenuous offers for help. I think that this is a common failure in the body of Christ to be honest. I’ve been examining my own heart and realize that I have fallen into this habit as well, and really want to change. Too often we are so quick to say that we will help and offer up all kinds of things that we could do with really no intention of following through. I’ve run into those people, and it’s made me shy away from even accepting those “offers” of help because deep down I don’t believe that there will be a follow through. I know for sure that I don’t want to be that person! I want to be more aware of what I’m saying to others, especially when it comes to offering to help them. If it’s something I know I can’t really do, then I just need to keep my mouth shut rather than try to make myself seem more caring and concerned by making an offer of help, which is really worse than not helping at all.
So what’s the change for me in all of this. Well, first off, I’m going to start ACCEPTING offers of help more frequently. So if you’re one of those “offerers, but non-follow-through-ers” then don’t offer to me because I will take you up on the spot and you might find yourself actually having to help. 😉 I remember one time having dinner with a family and then offering (genuinely) to do the dishes after. The lady of the house told me that she was “very particular” about how the dishwasher was loaded so she’d rather do it herself. Hmmm… I remember that as striking me so odd that someone wouldn’t jump at the chance to NOT do the dishes for once. That seniario has come back to me time and again though because I find myself doing the same thing, in different ways, you’re always welcome to load my dishwasher, when I don’t accept help from people too.
Next, I’m working on being more willing to ASK for help when I really do need it. We’re not terribly close to family out here, and I miss having that “support” that is there even if you’re not using it all the time. So it has led me to start looking for help in other places. For example, I have some doctor’s appointments coming up and it’s EXTREMELY hard to haul 3 kids in and out of those. While I was formulating a plan for exactly how I was going to do just that, I realized how foolish it was, and instead have asked someone from our church if they would HELP me by watching the kids. Ack!! Yes, it was difficult for me. I hate to feel like I’m imposing on people in ANY way, but this gal was so sweet and really eager to be a blessing. *sigh*
Third… yes, mind boggling that there can be more. I need to be more genuine with my own offers of help. I know that even though there are times I really DO want to help in various ways because of our family dynamic right now, I simply can’t. Keeping that in mind, I need to make sure that I do not make empty offers of help. Plus I can get creative and find ways that I can help others and be a blessing without having to “offer” or wait for them to ask for help. Those are some of my goals anyway.
So it’s a learning process for me, but hopefully I’m making progress. 🙂 Just some thoughts that were floating around in my head that it helps for me to write down and get out there!
Have a great Tuesday!! Our started out rough, but with the HELP of some ibuprofen and sudafed I think it’s improving! 😉