May 21, 2012

I Have Problems... Real Problems

I would sit on the edge of my bed and cry, as I felt the weight of the world crushing in on me.

I would look up towards the heavens and ask God to help me… because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

Between the diapers, and the crying babies, the cooking, the dishes, laundry, sweeping, moping, dusting, errands, bills, husband, the older children, homework, appointments, school, the job…It was all just too much for one person to bear alone… wasn’t it?

When someone would come over and offer to help… I would decline… and be greatly offended. I would think “Why would they offer to help unless they thought I couldn’t do it on my own? They can’t possibly know what it’s like not having enough time in the day.” I could even hear the judgmental tone in their voice when they offered to help!

I would turn to God and cry, and ask Him to help me because I knew I couldn’t do it alone! Not only did I have all of these tasks on my to do list in a day, with the unfinished list spilling over into the next day, and the next, and the next, but I had these judgmental people coming over who thought they were better than I was…

You see I have a problem… (I’m sure stemming back from my childhood)

A problem with letting people give to me, or help me.

I’ve always felt that if I allow someone to help me in any way… I’m admitting that I can’t do it by myself, thus claiming myself a failure. It’s one thing for God to know that I’m a failure, it’s another thing for me to let people in and let them close enough to see where I fail themselves. I’ve been rejected and hurt by so many people in my life I just couldn’t take any more.

It seemed to me that everyone around me had everything figured out… they all had these perfect lives where everything got done somehow… they made it look so easy! So I put up this barrier, and I closed myself off from everyone because surely they were all just out to get me because I wasn’t perfect like them.

 I never could allow someone to help me clean, run errands for me, or watch my children, because that’s admitting that I’m a failure… a failure as a wife and mother… so I struggle, and I push, and I cry, and I drown a little more each day.

I cry out to God for help… and someone offers to help, or come over, and I decline because I can’t handle the weight of their judgment.

And do you know what? One day, as I was crying out to God… He asked me “Why do you keep asking me for help, yet when I send help your way you decline it? Do you not realize that you all are the body of Christ? So when you ask me to extend a helping hand to you… how do you expect me to do that?”

1 Corinthians 12:27 - Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I don’t know what it is I expected to happen when I prayed for help…

Maybe for God to stop the day like He did for Joshua? (Joshua 10:13)

Give me some super mommy strength that would allow me to speed through the list a couple times a month and get everything caught up?

For me to wake up one morning with the clothes, dishes, and floors all magically cleaned?

I honestly don’t know… but I had failed to see His help in those who extended their hands and hearts to me. 

I confused their concerns with condemnation, their helpful tones with hostility.

So how do you think I handled this new revelation?  I wish I could say that I was able to tear down the barrier I had long ago placed around my heart and allowed others to come in and help me in my times of need… but no.

I stopped praying for help.
I gave up.

I allowed myself to sink way down below the surface of the water and gulp… I let the deep dark depths of the abyss consume me as I inhaled depression… and it was a long time before I was again able to gain enough strength to doggy paddle my way back up to the surface for air.

By the Grace of God I have now come up… still wet… but out of the water. I have allowed the kindness of others to penetrate the barrier I had built up and I can now experience friendships, community! Oh I know I will get hurt… I know that I will hurt others… but the joy I receive allowing my path to combine and cross with those around me far outweighs the pain of a possible betrayal.

I still have a hard time allowing people to help… but I’m getting better… 

As I once read - You bless others by letting them give to you – just like you feel blessed when you give to them…

A now good friend of mine once told me as she extended a hand to me (she knew me by then and could see I was about to decline her help)… “Don’t turn down a blessing from God”.

That stuck with me… and I find myself repeating those words in my mind often when people offer their hand – “Don’t turn down a blessing from God”

I’m not perfect… but like my 8 year old tells me (and her class mates) all the time “No one is perfect

By the Grace of God and His strength, I know that I can make it through whatever task is set before me… for I know that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

No, I’m not perfect… and I struggle… but I’ve come to realize that NO ONE IS PERFECT… we all have issues, we all feel inadequate in some area of our lives… we all think that there are people who look down on us because of our inadequacies. You know, the last part might be true, but so is the first… even those who are quick to pick up that first stone and aim it at you have areas in their lives they want to keep in the closet, hidden from the outside world. For me, knowing and remembering that… well, it helps.

Hi, my name is Angel… and I have problems… 



Lindsey said...

Angel, Thank you for the sweet comments you left on my blog. I agree. It is often difficult to find ladies who share our faith.

I thought I was the only one suffering from the problem you described here. :) Thanks for sharing. ~Lindsey

Zoe Love said...

I would say I often struggle with this too! (I wonder how many people do and just hide it well, pushing others away.) Thanks so much for bearing your heart and being open! God is good!

GingerPeachT said...

Aww I'm glad that you are realizing it's ok to be helped. Yes God is the great helper in times of need but He uses us to help others. :-) I liked your doggy paddle analogy lol

Amy said...

Oh Angel! I'm so glad someone said it that way to you "Don't turn down a blessing from God." Because that's what it is and we are all in this life together. All of us should be willing to not only help out another sister, but to accept that help ourselves when it is offered. Us Mommies have to stick together because this is hard! I am happy to hear that you are developing a community of friends who will give and take with you. Thank you for sharing your heart - it takes a lot of courage to do that, but you help so many others who believe they are alone with the same problems when you do. And I could so easily sign this "Hi, my name is Amy and I have problems" too! It's a big boat we're all in ... Thanks for linking up with NOBH. Smiles -