“Uh ma’am, can I help you with that?”
“Miss, do you need this any longer?”
“Here, let me get that for you!”
Sometimes, people can be extremely helpful. Maybe I should say sometimes people can be extremely willing to be helpful. It’s a wonderful thing to see someone step out of his or her world and offer to lend a hand to a complete stranger and as a wheeling woman, I have certainly received my fair share of “assistance offers.” It really is a beautiful thing and there have been numerous moments over the past few years that I say a special prayer for that helpful person who gave me a boost out of some deep snow when all my wheelchair tires would do was spin or the random dude who brought my chair back to me after it decided to go rogue and roll away in the Best Buy parking lot. In situations like that (and many others), I couldn’t be MORE happy to be the recipient of a gracious helping hand.
Yet, I should probably admit that I haven’t always been the most accepting of help and I sometimes (read: often) struggle with that feeling of maybe possibly needing someone. I’ve always been a fairly independent person with the catch phrase, “I’m a strong and independent woman, let me do it myself” being one of my favorites. Reflecting over the course of my life and more specifically, my own independence, it resembles more of a ping-pong match than a gradual progression from needy child to independent adult. Sure I was almost there when I graduated from college, but then my spinal cord injury and paralysis changed it all in a jiffy.
You want to get out of bed? You’re going to need help with that. You want to take a shower? You should probably call the nurse. After discharging from the hospital, you want to go somewhere for a vanilla latte? You better ask your Mom if she’s willing to drive you. Needless to say, early after my injury, independence was something I craved and yet could only dream about.
Now pause and think, when was the last time you asked for help?
Was it hard? Did it hurt your pride? Did it bother you? Should it have bothered you?
You know, things are different in my life now. That ping-pong ball has bounced back across the net and I have the independence I love and desired so much. I work a job, volunteer, drive myself around town, and do all the things any “normal” individual does in their day-to-day life. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to “be independent,” to not NEED help, and to feel like I’m back somewhere close to that place I was before my injury. And yet that ping-pong match made it very clear that every coin has two sides.
It’s great to be independent, but it’s even greater to rely on God.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Boasting of weakness? Boasting GLADLY of weakness? That kind of sounds counter-intuitive and perhaps a little nuts. I mean, when I think of my failures, struggles, or weaknesses, the last thing I want to do is admit them (let alone boast about them). And yet, it’s in those moments, in those trials, in those struggles, in those obstacles that we have this beautiful opportunity to see God’s almighty and amazing power. To see the way in which God provides, cares for, and helps his people better than any earthly person could ever dream of doing.
I will be the first person to say learning how to rely on God is not an easy lesson. It’s a lesson my pride and independent persona have had to learn and re-learn on a daily basis and I’m sure that will continue for the rest of my life.
But how awesome is it that we serve a God who WANTS us to come to him. Who doesn’t tell us to “just figure it out yourself” or begrudgingly respond “okay” when we muster up the courage to ask for assistance. God doesn’t require or even want us to go through this confusing and often challenging life “independent” and alone.