I’ve spent a lot of time in school – make that a LOT of time in school. I love learning. It’s almost a compulsion for me, and according to my kids, an unhealthy one. It seems, though, that after all this time I haven’t necessarily retained what my teachers intended. I draw blanks on personality theorists and theories, and I still have a hard time keeping Elijah and Elisha straight. Oh sure, I can play a pretty mean game of trivia, but there are a lot of gaps.
It’s the same way with my life. There seem to be plenty of things that haven’t made it from my head to my heart. Apparently knowing and living are two different things – who’da thunk it? The last four years have been a particularly intense time of life instruction, and I think, just maybe, I’ve learned a thing or two. The first, but most recent, is that I don’t like to ask for help. This was a revelation, because as a wife and mother, I thought I was always asking for help. You see, however, asking and liking to ask are two different things.
This revelation came about as a result of a serious car accident on March 11th. In a head-on collision I managed to do a great deal of damage to my body – thankfully not permanent. Still, it has required me to lay down my agenda, and let slide my own and others’ expectations of my productivity. Almost my identity. It has been as painful emotionally as it has been physically.
One of the most painful things has been the loss of autonomy. I never would have said I wanted to do everything myself (still wouldn’t!), but having to rely on others has been SO STINKIN’ HARD! Don’t get me wrong, I am ever so grateful for the help I’ve received. My family and I wouldn’t have made it – literally – without this community of support. But you see, I’m the helper. the doer. the listener. I’m comfortable in that role. Not always thrilled, but pretty much content. Perhaps it comes from being the youngest, but I hate the very idea of being a bother, an obligation. Even now it pricks at my heart.
I can acknowledge wanting help, but I don’t want to ask for help. What if people say no? How embarrassing will that be for both of us? Rejection. Shame. Even worse, what if they want to say no, but don’t, and then just resent me for asking? How about it’s all volunteer. Knock me down with volunteering. Read my mind.
Here’s the deal: this drama being played out in my earthly relationships is just the visible representation of my heavenly relationship. I deal with others like I deal with the Father. Dangit! I hate when that happens!
You see, the realization is only half the battle. Now I have to begin to uncover the ways that my broken thinking is hindering, nay handicapping, my relationships on both levels. And THEN I have to CHANGE! I can’t just go halfway.
So what’s the good news? Well, that’s the second thing I’ve learned. God is a redeemer – no, wait, He’s the Redeemer – no, no, – my Father is my Redeemer! He never wastes any thing, any moment, any experience. No matter how much I mess it up or what plans the enemy had for my destruction, God will transform it into something beautiful if i will let Him. Crazy, right?
This is what carries me through the hard times. It’s the only reason I can choose to ask, “What do You want to do with this situation? What do You want me to learn?” instead of becoming bitter and broken. I still have to do the dirty work of excavating, but I’m so glad that He does the transforming. And if I ask Him, He’ll even show me where to dig.
Finally, I’ve learned that He’s faithful – and perhaps that’s what He wanted me to learn after all.