Confession time: I'm going to admit upfront that I am not the greatest at asking for or accepting help. I'm not good at delegating. I work hard to at least have the appearance of having things together and being self-sufficient. I guess my reasoning has been "everybody's busy, everybody has their own things going on, their own needs. I can take care of things." Of course, there may be a little bit of hubris mixed in there (or more than a little). I have things under control. I'm the one that makes things happen, etc., etc.
Well, last week, my husband ended up being in the hospital from early Tuesday morning all the way to Friday evening. He is feeling much better now, and we greatly appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts that y'all sent our way. But spending the week in the hospital had not really been on either of our schedules. We had things to do! He was supposed to be at school. I was supposed to be at work. The cats and dog needed looking after. The house needed cleaning. There were meetings and practices and preparations for Mission Week and homework and sermons. And basically none of that got done, because we were stuck in a hospital room all week.
All of a sudden all that self-sufficiency had to go out the window. We needed help. And we got it! My sisters and parents walked the dog. His parents brought us food. Family and friends dropped by to keep us company in the hospital. My mom even vacuumed the house!
At the church, Janice suggested that maybe I didn't need to be worrying about preparing a sermon and worship while dealing with all this. On Wednesday, I deflected her - "I'm sure it will be fine. I've already been thinking about the sermon. I can work on it here at the hospital. We'll be out by then for sure." On Thursday, I took her up on her offer. It was both harder and easier than I expected. I had to admit that I wasn't going to get everything done and that I didn't need to!
Asking for help means accepting that it's not all about me and how much I can do and accomplish and how great and self-sufficient I am. It also means recognizing that God has given gifts to everyone and that part of believing that is actually letting others use their gifts.
As we move forward into our new future as a church, we are going to be talking more and more about our gifts and how we put them to work. For some of us (e.g. me) that may mean stepping back, relinquishing control, asking for and actually accepting help. It may mean giving up the idol of self-sufficiency and realizing that it does take all sorts of gifts and all sorts of people to really make a difference in the world. Working with others is a strength, not a weakness. In the end, it's not all about me. I may just need a little help remembering that. :)