Friday, August 14, 2009

The Power to Receive

Rick usually takes out the garbage. But one Wednesday back in the diaper days he was out of town, so I had to manage the overstuffed, unwieldy dumpster out to the curb, and I was having trouble keeping it steady on its two wheels. I glanced up and saw one of our neighbors coming toward me. How nice! Someone to help, right? Well, all I could think was, Must manage this thing on my own! and the threat of having to admit defeat gave me superhuman strength to keep the dumpster upright and moving. By the time he arrived I was almost at the curb, so I was able to just smile and say, "I've got it, but thank you so much for offering!"

If somebody asked me, "Are you opposed to chivalry, Anette?" I would reply, "No, of course not!" But some deep part of me has a hard time accepting help. It's not a rational thing, so if you tell me I'm wrong to feel that way, I won't argue. Sometimes it's because I don't want to impose. Most of the time it's my pride.

If the things of this world were all that mattered, that wouldn't be such a big deal. Self-sufficiency is a good thing from a sociological perspective. But pride is a spiritual barrier. Why? Because faith is all about receiving, and without faith we have nothing of eternal value.

I mentioned in "The Substance of Things Hoped For" that faith is our measure of an objective reality, namely Christ and his work on the cross. Christ is real whether we believe in him or not, but if we believe, he becomes real to us. And to the extent we have faith, we share in his victory on the cross.

Faith is not a virtue. It's not something we do for God. It is our power to receive what God wants to give us in Christ. So if we're proud and want to do everything ourselves, we have a problem. We can't please God with our own goodness. Without faith it is impossible to please him, but when we come to him in humility, he will give himself and his goodness to us. The more we can empty ourselves of Self, the more of God we can contain.

Sometimes it's good to practice letting others help us, because it creates in us that all-important power to receive. So maybe the next time the grocery store bagger asks me if I would like service out to the car, I should say "yes" for once.


Cindy said...

You are so right about how hard it is to accept help. When someone offers help, our automatic response is "No thanks, I'm fine" even if we really do need help.

3 Blessings said...

This has been a big lesson for me lately. With the adoption funding...I did not want to admit that we need help. God showed me I must fully rely on Him for Him to be in control. It is a big one to admit that we need anything because in our world it is all about ones' self, not reliance.