It is no secret that I am what is generally referred to as “strong-willed”, and I always have been. Throughout my life several other adjectives have been used – some positive, and some not so positive – but the general idea is the same:
Want to get me to try something? Tell me I’d never do it.
Want to see me succeed? Tell me I’ll fail.
Want to have a baseball hurled at you at an alarming speed? Tell me girls can’t play ball.
That’s who I am.
And, to be honest, this personality of mine has often worked to my advantage. I stayed out of trouble when I was a kid because someone told me that “all teenagers smoke, drink, and sleep around.” So I didn’t.
I got straight A’s in high school and went to college on a full scholarship because someone told me I’d “never be Valedictorian.” So I was.
However, it doesn’t always work out so well.
After I earned that scholarship to college I was just as determined to prove that grades did not define me. Why? Because someone said, “Once you get your first B you’ll fall apart.” So I proved that a B wouldn’t destroy me.
Nor would a C, or… well, you get the picture. (Sorry Mom and Dad.)
But, for the most part, I like the way that I am.
I like the fact that I am not afraid to take on a challenge. I like the fact that I am a strong leader. And I like the fact that I am perfectly comfortable taking charge of a situation.
You know what I don’t like, though?
Asking for help.
Admitting, “Hey, I’m in over my head.”
And, yes, my strong-willedness, my stubbornness, (okay, fine, my pride) can often get me in over my head.
Just today everything came crashing down in an emotional, frantic, really strange scene in the sunroom of my house. I’ll save you the gory details, but just know that David and I were having an intense discussion. I needed his help, but I didn’t want to admit it. He knew I needed his help, but didn’t know how to help me realize it.
Finally I took a deep breath, summoned the courage, and said, “Just help me. Help me find the strength to be weak.”
That was all he needed to hear. He stepped in and gave me the help I so desperately needed.
Now, let me say this: I do realize that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. And when others ask me for help, I am more than willing to do whatever I can and never once think any less of the person who asked.
But for me, and for others like me, asking for and accepting help is one of the most difficult things imaginable.
I have a dear friend who is a writer, and every so often we will email back and forth about the projects we have been working on. In our last discussion he realized that of all of the projects I had on my plate, none of them revealed what was in my own heart. None of them focused on what I have been learning, experiencing, and struggling with.
I never answered his email. Because I didn’t know what to say.
How do I say, “What I’m learning is that I’m weak. What I’m experiencing is that by continuously trying to be strong I am falling apart at the seams. And what I’m struggling with is the fact that I struggle.”
Well, what do you know? I just said it.
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
See you soon.