This post first appeared at Soli Deo Gloria, but today, the community at #WholeMama is talking about the word “receive.” I was immediately reminded of the challenge of graciously receiving help from others, and started my story with a flash back to my days of babies in cloth diapers . . .
They had come to visit and to help, but I couldn’t have been more horrified if the people at my door had been bandits or kidnappers. Number one, I was on the couch. Number two, I had been sick for weeks and the house must have looked like a train wreck. (Fortunately, my memory has blotted out those details.) Number three, Mount Laundry had taken over my living room, because I was going to try to fold some diapers . . . eventually. Number four, I was in my pajamas!
Sick and exceedingly pregnant with my fourth son, I was in need of help, but too stubborn to ask for it. The angels of mercy who arrived at my door on that winter evening over a dozen years ago folded all my laundry (even the diapers!) and left a complete meal to be heated up the next day. Sadly, instead of feeling loved, ministered to, or even relieved, all I could feel was mortified!
I really should have known better. After all, I had been on the opposite end of that equation countless times, my casserole dishes travelling far and wide to the sick and the discouraged. The truth is that my judgment was clouded by pride, insecurity, and feelings of unworthiness. Somewhere along the way the wrong drumbeat had become my marching companion:
Be the helper, never the helped.
Be the giver, never the receiver.
Be the strong, never the weak.
The writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer diagnoses my faulty thinking with skill:
“It is not our judgment of the situation which can show us what is wise,
but only the truth of the Word of God.”
Looking to Psalm 121, I experience a much-needed realignment of my warped perspective:
“I lift my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
God stands ready to help – not with a promise of a perfect, trouble-free life (or an illness-free pregnancy), but with everyday help to walk through hard times in the way of faith. Slowly, it has begun to dawn on me that it is often His plan to use fellow travelers on the road to provide that help.
So, when I’m feeling scorched and overwhelmed like a traveler too long in the sun, I am learning to take counsel from the pilgrim who wrote Psalm 121. God’s interest in me is unwavering. He calls himself a Guardian (or Keeper) eight times in the psalm, and He does not slumber on His watch. He is the perfect traveling companion.
In addition, like that Jerusalem-bound pilgrim, I would do well to monitor my focus while I’m on the road. When I “lift my eyes to the hills,” am I tempted to “flee like a bird to the mountains” (Psalm 11:1)? Remember, soul, your help comes from the maker of the hills, the maker of heaven and earth.
So, why do I keep catching myself lifting my eyes to . . . the fridge?
Or to the consoling notion of my accomplishments?
Or to the number of likes on my latest social media post?
Taking Bonhoeffer’s advice, once again, the truth of the Word shows me what is wise: my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
- He is a living help, and I am wise to look to Him before all others sources of comfort.
- He may choose to send help to me through one of His people, and if I am wise, I will take it!
At times, I still struggle with graciously receiving help from others, but I have learned that those “angels” who showed up at my door to fold my laundry and feed my family had not come because they wanted to catch me being lazy or to make me feel weak and incompetent. They had been sent by God, and, at the same time, He was sending me on a pilgrimage of understanding: My help comes from the Lord.
How is God working in your life to teach the humility of receiving help? When God sends you on a pilgrimage of understanding, do you travel willingly?
photo credit: Inside via photopin
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I link up with these communities on a regular basis: Soli Deo Gloria Connections, Inspire Me Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Live Free Thursdays, Faith-Filled Fridays, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Friday, Still Saturday, The Weekend Brew, Sunday Stillness, Faith and Fellowship, Blessing Counters, Women with Intention, Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Small Wonder, A Little R & R, Beloved Brews, SusanBMead, Faith Along the Way, Cozy Reading Spot, #Whole Mama