I recently read a part of my Sabbath School lesson that I felt was meant for me and boy did it feel like a slap in the face. It was a passage about self-sufficiency being a form of pride. I had never thought of it that way and it really stunned me. The passage is as follows *ahem:
God does not intend for us to bear all our burdens alone. Unfortunately, we often are far more willing to help others to carry their burdens than we are in allowing others to help us shoulder our own. Paul condemns this attitude of self-sufficiency (Gal. 6:3) as human pride, when we refuse to admit that we also have needs and weaknesses. Such pride not only robs us of the comfort of others but also prevents others from fulfilling the ministry that God has called them to perform. (See Tuesday’s lesson http://ssnet.org/qrtrly/eng/11d/less13.html)
WHAAAT?! You mean to tell me that not allowing someone to help me can even hinder someone else in carrying out God’s will? WOW! This one was tough for me (was the book staring into my soul?). I help others all the time because I think it is right and I enjoy it whether it be comforting someone, listening, giving advice, or things of a more physical nature like helping someone with their groceries. Yet, despite what I do for others I find it extremely difficult to ask things of others and will rarely do so in an effort to do everything myself so as not to burden anyone else with my problems.
As I read, I was in denial (the state of mind, not the river). Even now it is still hard to accept. After all, I do not think I am too good to receive help nor am I above asking but no matter how much help is offered it is almost painful for me to impose on others (even if they do not mind). I have no qualms about going above, beyond, or out of my way for others, but if I left a textbook at home I would not ask the person sitting next to me if they could share (though I suppose that instance is a result of shyness). When I reject help, what I am saying is, “I don’t need you” to my fellow man and if I believe that the help is God-sent (2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2), then I am rejecting God’s help.
Whether I can accept my self-sufficiency as pride (or not), I do know that it is not healthy to take on everything by myself all of the time, eventually I will run myself ragged and what help will I be to God then? Christ says that we must bear our own burdens in the sense that we are responsible for ourselves and our actions but he also says we are to bear each other’s burdens in the sense that we are to take some of the weight off of each other’s shoulders (Galatians 6:2-5). Part of bearing someone else’s burden is being able to allow someone to help me bear my own as well. I have to learn how to be comfortable asking for help especially from my family and friends because they are my support system and just as willing to help me as I am to help them. Though it is a long road, I will make an effort to depend on others more; besides, just as the saying goes, “no man is an island”.