That sentiment troubled me deeply in the days that followed. 'What a foolish and arrogant way to live,' I thought. But I give my friend the benefit of the doubt, and hope that those words came in the moment, and not from the heart.
A high priority on our parenting list right now is that we sometimes see this mindset in our son. He was having trouble finding an answer in school yesterday, and his frustration was mounting. I was sitting right there, and I gently reminded him, with a question, of what we do when we are having trouble. He buried his face in his hands and whined, "Ask-for-help-but I don't want help! I want to do it myself."
Again, this is troubling to me. We aren't designed to do everything on our own. Before God could rest from his creation, he had to make a helper for man. We need each other. My guess is God designed us that way to help us realized something else:
We also need a Savior. There is an eternity that follows this earth, and the only way we will spend it with God and not in torment is with the help of Jesus. We can't do it alone.
Yesterday was a tough day around the house. With one kiddo gone with his Dad all day, I had high hopes of getting a lot done. But Tyler needed to be held a lot, and school took longer than it should have, and in the end, it seemed I had done even less than usual, not more, like I had wanted. I went to bed frustrated, glad the day was over, and ready for a new one.
But this morning I was greeted by all the messes left from yesterday and immediately felt overwhelmed. My wonderful husband, home on spring break, jumped in and started loading the dishwasher while I was getting dressed. But did I feel grateful? No! I pouted as I dressed, and these exact words came into my head: "I don't want your help."
I stopped in my tracks.
I was stunned by my own thoughts. It made no sense! And earlier thoughts also began to echo in my head... "what a foolish and arrogant way to live."
I think there are many reasons why we might choose to go it alone... the pride and satisfaction of having accomplished things by ourselves comes to mind. I know in my case this morning I felt I didn't deserve help. I had made the messes, and I ought to dig out of them alone.
But where is grace in that mindset?
We don't deserve to be saved from the consequences of our sinful selves, either, but God doesn't keep score that way. He loves us enough that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." And he loves us enough to help us through all the messes we make, by his Spirit, by his Word, and by the people he puts in our lives.
For whatever reasons, our nature is to resist accepting that help. I know I've been humbled this morning to accept the help given, and be thankful for it!