It’s been over a month since I posted a new blog post. It’s not because I have a terrible case of writers block, in fact I have had this very blog drafted for some time. It’s a message that has been burning in my heart for over a year. However, as I started to write, I felt like the Father started to shine a light on the ugly parts of my heart. I never realized I had a pride problem until I started digging into this topic and boy has this been a hard journey. It’s easier to write about lessons that I have already learned. It’s hard to write about the lessons I am currently learning. So stay with me as I share what the Father has been bringing to light in my life.
Before I scare you away with all the ugly parts of my heart, let me tell you a light-hearted story to ease us into this. Dan often calls me a pack mule. Every time we go somewhere, I make it my personal mission to carry all the things. Dan also often jokes that everyone around us must think he is a jerk, as I am quick to carry everything without asking for help. It doesn’t matter where we are, Dan often has to force me to give him some of my load. Grocery days are the worst. I will carry in every single grocery bag by myself… even if it breaks my arm.
I rarely ever ask for any help, but the last few times I have went grocery shopping, I have called Dan when I am pulling to the garage. It’s been so wonderful to share the load. We still get all the groceries in on one trip, but I no longer deal with sore arms after grocery shopping!
Several grocery trips ago, as Dan ran out to help me with the groceries I realized how much I appreciate his willingness to come and help me. Not only do we carry the groceries in together, but then he often helps me put them away. The work is so much easier when we help each other.
Imagine someone carrying four heavy bags and a 2×4 by themselves. Not only would it look awkward, but they would struggle to take any steps without stumbling. Now imagine, if a second person came and took two of bags and and one end of the 2×4. The same weight is being carried, however with two people the load is easier. It’s less awkward.
Now imagine two people, each one is trying to carry a heavy load to the trash dumpster. Alone the feat is nearly impossible because one person can’t lift the load over their head and into the dumpster, however with two people the load is easier to lift and throw away. The two people can take turns throwing each others heavy load away. The heavy load becomes lighter when two people work to carry it together.
The reality is that many of us carry heavy loads everyday. However, unlike grocery bags, 2×4’s or trash bags, many of our troubles go unseen. Our hearts are so heavy we can barely take another step. The load we are carrying is slowly killing us, however no one around us knows.
Several weeks ago, I had a rough day and received some bad news. After receiving that news I had a choice. I could push down all my feelings, stick on a “happy” face and head back to work without really acknowledging what I just heard and how it made me feel or I could reach out and ask someone to help me carry the news. I could carry it myself – I’m a pack-mule after all – or I could call in reinforcements.
So I weighed my options, and several of the following thoughts went through my head:
- No one cares about this problem.
- No one can help me.
- I don’t have anyone to call even if I did want to tell someone.
- If I tell people about this problem they will think I am weak or not enough.
- This problem is just “old news”, no one wants to keep hearing about the same problem again and again.
I had to make a conscious decision to tell my thoughts they were wrong. I ran each of my thoughts through Philippians 4:8 –
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Simply put, none of the thoughts that ran through my head were true. They were all lies from the pit of hell. So I called in my my prayer warriors. I told them how much my heart was hurting, and I asked them to help me carry my burden. Things got lighter.
In the past several months, I have had several situations that I wished I would have known what a friend was going through. I wish they would have told me the whole story so I could help. So, I started to think through ways that I could combat these lies that I believe when I choose not to tell people what I’m carrying. I have sat at my computer for hours typing and re-typing how to combat these lies. I wanted to provide a scripture that you could cling to every time you started to wonder if your friends cared. A scripture for when you feel like no one can help. I wanted to remind you that you are special and loved, but the scriptures wouldn’t come.
And then I got a kidney stone.
I actually had been feeling the pain off and on for two days, but had been writing it off as several other possible ailments. However, at 3:00 in the morning the pain woke me from a deep sleep and took me breath away. I tried to find a comfortable position, but couldn’t. I tried everything I could think of to fall back asleep, but it just wasn’t happening. When Dan’s alarm went off at 6:00, I asked him if He would take me to the emergency room. Of course, he said yes and immediately jumped into action.
As he texted his boss, and threw on a pair of jeans, I cried. Tears weren’t falling down my face because I was in pain. I was crying because I was ruining his morning. I tried to convince myself that maybe I would be okay? Maybe I was exaggerating. I mean, I can be pretty dramatic. No amount of trying to convince the pain away would work, so off we went to the hospital.
When we got the emergency room, I walked in while Dan parked the car. I stood and tried to calmly check in, however the pain was making me nauseous and taking my breath away. When the sweet front desk women had all the needed information, they asked me to sit in the waiting room. A few minutes later, a nurse came out and called my name. She took one look at me and said “Do you need a wheel chair?” I nodded yes, and then started to cry. Again, these tears weren’t tears of pain, these were tears of frustration. I didn’t want to be pushed back to my room. Why? Because I didn’t want to be perceived as weak.
Several hours later, I was diagnosed with a kidney stone (that we later learned was actually TWO kidney stones that were both rather large). I had a real issue in my body causing me pain. A real issue that required help. However, I didn’t wake Dan up. I was worried about ruining his day. I didn’t want to ride in a wheelchair, I didn’t want to put anyone out.
Friends, we were not created to be this way. Galatians 6:2-3 says this in the Passion Translation:
Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception.
That emergency room trip was so eye opening. I can preach all day about how we need other people, but I have been a hypocrite. I am quick to ask others how I can help them. In fact, I already told you I get angry when people don’t tell me how I can help. But I have too much pride to tell people when I need help. Pride is so ugly and honestly so sneaky.
In fact, I have never have considered myself a prideful person, but as I have tried to write to encourage you to share your burdens, I have realized just how much pride is in my heart. I have never realized that when I thought no one would care about me, that was actually a form of pride. The Father hates pride. Over and over scripture reminds us that He values those who are humble.
So, I have been actively working to change my attitude. First, I repented and then I acted. I am choosing not to focus on my failures and prideful attitude, but rather on God’s ability to give me lasting victory over pride. I am believing that He will implant a more humble attitude and I am giving Him the praise in advance! In fact, I am writing this post in the middle of my mess. I for sure don’t have this figured out. One thing I have learned, I can’t sit on the couch and wait for pride to leave. I have to continue to push it out.
I am not just asking help with groceries anymore. I am calling on friends on bad days, and asking them to pray. I am sharing tears and vulnerable days. I am saying yes when a friend offers to send a meal. I am saying yes when a friend is willing to stop by and give me a hug. This is not easy for me at all. It’s been so much more difficult that I ever would have imagined to be vulnerable with those around me, but it’s also been so rewarding. My hard days have been so much more manageable with people who can help me carry the load. My circle can’t help unless I share what I need.
So today, I want to encourage you not to do life alone. Community is important. Matthew 18:20, promises that when two or more are gathered the Father meets them, but friends we have to schedule a meeting, our friends can’t read our minds. Don’t let pride hold you back from the joy of someone doing life with you and helping you with your heavy load. Pack-mules aren’t cool.