I didn’t want to ask for help.
As I hung there, suspended over 100 feet in the air, I twisted my body upward. The wooden plank of the bridge was several feet above my legs, and seemed to mock me. I didn’t have the strength to reach it.
Sweat drenched my clothes as the sun beat down on my face, the heat index reaching above 100 degrees. I watched my middle child zip-line back to the main tower of the ropes course. Our two-hour time slot was over, thank God.
“Do you need help?” the instructor called. She’d just pulled my son, who got stuck on the obstacle ahead of me, to safety. I hesitated for a moment, and then responded, “Yes, please.” She wasted no time, and soon I was standing on the next platform, wondering how I was going to muster up the strength to get through the last two obstacles.
What is it in each in so many of us that hates asking for help? What makes us believe we have to do it all ourselves, so we often carry burdens we were never intended to carry?
I will admit it- Pride kept me from asking for help right away on the ropes course. After our adventure, my husband told me, “Little boys like nothing better than being brave for their mom.” Well, this mom wanted to be brave for her boys too. And to get through as much of the course as we had time to do.
But you know what? I believe being brave also means knowing our limitations.
It means reaching for someone else’s hand when we’d rather fly solo. It requires linking arms with others and knowing where our strength comes from.
This week, a challenge of women supporting other women circulated Instagram. The challenge was simple. Post a black and white photo of yourself and thank the woman who invited you. Perhaps a little bit about women who inspire you. Then, message other women to join the fun.
I loved this challenge for many reasons, but it also made me think about the things that hold us back. I wondered about the reasons why we often don’t fulfill our God-given callings, and we miss the beautiful opportunities he’s inviting us to into.
The list is long, but I believe one of the reasons is because we think it’s all up to us. We catch a glimpse of a beautiful vision, and we determine to fulfill it. We chase our dreams with the excitement that comes from beginning something new, but then we get stuck. Is it supposed to be this hard?
We try to pull ourselves back up, but we don’t have the strength.
Last year, I did a short study in Ephesians. Chapter two, verse ten was one I’d heard commentary and sermons on several times, and the speaker usually highlighted one word: masterpiece. Can you hear my inner voice singing, “I am so great. Me me me.”
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
But this time, I realized a simple, yet crucial element about all of these good things I was made to do. They aren’t a result of my greatness. They aren’t even devised by me. Each and every one was planned by God, and for God.
This doesn’t mean I sit around and do nothing. But it does mean I can breathe and know it isn’t all up to me. I can work from a place of security and rest, knowing if I am obedient, God will take care of it.
Friends, God created each and every one of us to work in partnership with him. But he is the one directing, not us. Letting him do so is a daily act of seeking him, and surrendering whatever is holding us back.
Today I’m surrendering my need to do everything myself. Because I can’t. And we thrive as his church only when we work both with him and with each other.
If you need further encouragement in pursuing the God-given plans for your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. Our identity in Christ is one of the topics I cover in detail, and discuss how when we know who we are in him, it shifts our focus.
You can purchase a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.