Friday, February 27, 2009

Help for the Humble

I'm a mom of 3 boys. So, it is no exaggeration when I say that if I had a nickel for everytime one of them said, "I can do it myself", I wouldn't be blogging from my livingroom but rather a lovely mountain cabin somewhere.

I've been trying to wrestle with them through this statement for approximately 8 years and at times I've been successful and other time failed miserably. Another opportunity arose at the Costco foodcourt earlier this week. I was sharing a frozen yogurt with my two youngest boys when I tried to help my youngest dig deep into the yogurt to get to the vanilla. At which point I hear, "I'm a big boy, I can do it myself." I remained calm and quickly thought, "Lord, how to I get through to him"?

I shared with my son that I recognize he's a big boy that I'm aware that many times he can, indeed, do it himself. This time, however, I was trying to help because I love him and knew that I could get the coveted vanilla better than he. I went on to tell him that everyone needs help and it is an act of being humble. I stopped, quickly replayed what I just said and said, outloud, "Huh". To which my almost 8 year old asked me "what?".

I explained to him that God had just taught me something. God is always teaching me something through my children but he just happened to be there to hear me wonder aloud. We seem to be such a self-sufficent society. We revel in our ability to "do it ourselves". We are awarded various ways for this ability but as I reflected on what I had told my son, I realized that this really all comes down to pride and our sin nature.

I'm all for our children learning to be independent from us. It's the kind of self-sufficency I see day-to-day that disturbs me. Merriam-Webster defines it like this -

self-sufficency adj. able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid ; having an extreme confidence in one's own ability or worth

I want my children to be independent and able to think and provide for themselves. Believing that they are the only ones who can accomplish things or that taking help is a form of weakness is another story. The bible has a lot to say about being humble:

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.Psalm 25:8-10

The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.Psalm 147:5-7

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.Matthew 23:11-13

Webster tells us this, "Humble: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive"

Accepting help is a good thing. Hard to do in our pride but pleasing to the Lord, I believe, and an act of being humble. It's a good thing and something I hope to cultivate in my boys. In this world where "I can do it myself" seems to be a mantra, may you be compelled to allow someone to help you. You just might be giving someone the opportunity to be blessed too.

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