Monday, March 9, 2015

Motivational Monday: My Identity & Asking for Help

On Friday I had grand plans. I was going to clean my house, make lunch for my best friend & sister in law & go to my husband's art opening. I ate breakfast & started bustling around the house. While moving a comically light coffee table back into place, post-vacuuming, my back was seized with blinding pain, never before felt. I generally feel like I have a pretty high pain threshold, but I must admit that whatever was happening in my back literally brought me to my knees (and eventually to my back on the freshly vacuumed carpet).

After laying, wrapped in the vacuum cord for what seemed like an eternity, I realized that I was not going to be able to get up off the floor by myself. This was devastating. Never in my life have I not been able to power through an illness & the idea of having to call my husband up from his home office was more than I could take. I started to cry. Not out of pain, though it was considerable, but out of embarrassment & worry about the day's plans.  I was letting my best friend & sister in law down. I wasn't going to be able to host them or hang out & I swiftly saw my entire weekend going down the drain. I finally called Rick up to help me & cringed when he had to lift me off the carpet because I physically could not lift myself. I spent most of the weekend on the couch & I had a lot of time to think.


A brief list of what came out of that time of reflection:

  • I have got to get back in shape: Period. End of story. If there ever were a time, it's now. Destree, this is your wake-up call. 

  • I'm 29 years old: Which is basically 30. Which is too old to be lifting & pulling with my (apparently) fragile back like some human-ox hybrid. Frankly, any age is too old to be pulling that kind of tom foolery. Respect your back, kids. Don't be like me. 

  • I think God is trying to teach me something very important about where I truly believe my strength & identity come from: I have mentioned before that I struggle to ask for help & I am generally a pull-yourself-up-by-your bootstraps kind of gal. I'm pretty independent & if I'm honest, most of the time when I ask for help it's for the helpers benefit. This is usually seen by people as a positive attribute & because I have spent most of my life being praised for my sufficiency, I often struggle to see it as a problem. But here's the deal; it's a big problem & *spoiler* there are some things I can't power through. When my mom passed away I started having panic attacks. I would be making dinner for my family & I would suddenly be unable to breath. I would be walking through a store, picking out the outfit my mom would wear for the rest of eternity & I would be struck down in the aisle with an unbelievable chest tightness, like someone was sitting on my lungs. That is the only other time in my life I can remember my body physically stopping me from doing what I thought I needed to be doing in that moment & frankly,  I needed to be stopped. I needed something to make me say, "You know what? I don't have this. I'm not okay. Someone please help me". As I was laying on the couch, pondering what had brought me to this helpless moment it occurred to me that maybe instead of being angry or feeling sorry for myself, maybe I should be thankful. Thankful for the reminder that while I like to fancy myself Wonder Woman (complete with golden lasso & invisible jet), anything that might be wonderful about me doesn't come from me. Most days digging deeper to get through works out just fine, but there is always going to come a day when I won't be able to dig. And what then? What if I could never get back up off the couch? What if I was wheel chair bound instead of just dealing with a pulled muscle? It's just too easy to say that Christ is my rock & my strength when things are going well, when I'm healthy & when everyone loves me. It's a lot harder to say that when I'm confronted with my real weakness & sin. What if I really started to believe that my identity was in Christ & not in what I could produce in a day? How would my life change if I started to live like my strength came from Christ? How would my heart change? 

  • Letting people help me will not kill me: My brother & sister-in-law spent their entire Friday night looking after me so that I wouldn't pull a stunning recreation of one of those "Help! I've fallen & I can't get up! commercials while Rick was away. They made me dinner, watched tv with me & gave me my medicine. A lovely friend brought us a tray of enchiladas because she'd heard I hurt my back. My best friend sat with me, helped me up & talked with me while sitting in my messy house, staring at my messy, un-showered self. My sweet husband helped me all weekend. He cooked for me, put me to bed & cleaned up the house. He picked up dropped books & changed DVDs. He helped me get dressed & even offered to help me wriggle into tights for church, which I ultimately decided against. I was surprised & ashamed at how much it bothered me that so many people were helping me. I kept apologizing about the dirty house, my unshaven legs & my greasy hair. I was actually angry for not being able to will myself to stand up on my own volition. I'm not proud to say that I cried more tears this weekend out of shame & humiliation than out of pain. Then I started to think about the fact that I don't care about any of those things when I'm helping other people. I don't care if their houses are messy or if they have to cancel lunch plans. I don't mind taking time out of my day for them. It's not about any of that. Why is that so hard to remember for myself? I want to be the kind of person that let's people love me without me feeling like I have to uphold my end of some kind of transaction. I want to be the kind of person that let's people see my messy life; the kind of person that can ask for & accept help with humility & without shame. I am definitely not that person yet. 

I am starting to feel better, day by day. I went into the office today & watched my nephew this afternoon. I even cooked dinner tonight! Although I'm moving slowly & I still get the occasional lighting bolt of pain in my lower back, I think I'm on the mend. It's going to be a few days before I can bend over to fill the dishwasher or pick up a basket of laundry. Rick will probably need to keep helping me around the house & that is okay. It's more than okay, actually. My heart is grateful for this time of reflection & rest, even if I had to be dragged into it, kicking & screaming. *Ahem* story of my life *Ahem*.

I truly hope that I can carry the lessons that I've learned this weekend with me, even when the muscles in my back have healed completely.  


  1. Kim, As I rapidly approach my 60th year, I am challenged daily by just how helpless I am apart from our Lord Jesus. When I sit down for a meal, I am reminded of our sweet and utter dependence upon Him! I cannot even take a breath apart from Him (John 15:5). But here's the rub: despite being a Christian for greater than 40 years, I still struggle with pride. Yet, God in His faithfulness does not leave me there. This morning, a thought came to me, "If God truly loves us in Christ, He will humiliate us in our pride. If He doesn't love us, He will leave us in our pride." I continue to fight against the thought of personal humiliation, but through your precious testimony and my own life experiences, I am seeing more and more clearly that humiliation/humility is the only door to Heaven. No one has been more humiliated than Jesus ... shouldn't we desire to be more like Him? Love, Dad

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