“I can do it all by myself!” Those words often rang out through my home when my son was a toddler. He had a rather stubborn streak of insisting that he was able to do many things his own way, and all on his own. I would often find him climbing upon on his dresser (which is probably why dresser manufacturers advise parents to anchor dressers to the wall). I would even round the corner in time to witness that little stinker (said affectionately) attempting to climb upon the kitchen countertop to retrieve something that he felt he must have right away. Sometimes those things were okay for him to have, such as a toy that was a little out of reach, and sometimes not, such as shiny sharp kitchen scissors or a rather full jar of delicious cookies. And, although I’ve mentioned the following conversation in a previous blog, for the sake of this post, it bears repeating. If he successfully retrieved the object of his affections, I would promptly take said object away from him and say “You don’t need that.” Fairly soon, he learned to exclaim to me “But, I neeeeeeed that!” and sometimes he said that statement even before I took the offending item away from him. Those days are long gone, but I can still hear that little voice insist on keeping whatever little treasure he had at the time.
We too, just like my son as a toddler, insist on doing things our own way, going our own way. After all, we know best don’t we? And, for some of us we seem to think that we are Superwoman – you know, we believe that we can and should do it all. After all we’re smart, capable, aren’t we? We’ve bought into the ideas presented by the feminist movement of the 1970s that “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…” Yup, we’re superwomen for sure, we can do it all, we can do it better than anyone else, and we can do it all by ourselves, we don’t need help from anyone! And, just where does that leave us? Exhausted. Frustrated. Guilt ridden. Overwhelmed. Overworked. Frazzled. Anxious. Insomniacs. Not such a good picture is it?
But to ask for help, well then that’s a sign of weakness, and a real downfall in our character, or is it? I for one stopped being everything to everyone a long time ago. I learned that I cannot, and definitely should not, do everything on my own. And, to this day, I’m still fighting that battle. But now when I feel overwhelmed, I try to make a conscious decision to talk about just how overwhelmed I am. My husband and I just recently had a conversation on how entertaining (especially holiday decorating, shopping, and entertaining) – the sheer volume of preparations, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards was becoming a burden that quickly zapped me of my joy. And while he was a bit surprised at everything it entailed, he admitted that he never gave it much of a thought because it was something that I just did. That was partly both of our faults – me for not raising my hand soon enough, and him for not paying attention to everything that just seemed to happen “as if by magic.” So, this year I got some much needed help, and I was very thankful for it. I’m hoping that during this past season the tide was turned, and when we have people over for entertainment, or overnight guests, that I won’t be left with shouldering all of the burden.
I realize that there’s no person that I know that is simply able to do absolutely everything. We all have special gifts and talents. I’m a whiz at organizing. I have our business book work pretty much down to a science (I’m always refining). My husband has all the mechanical issues with our big rig down, he knows upon what to focus. Together we tackle thing more effectively than we can do by ourselves; it’s like that business acrostic that surfaced when I was out in the corporate world: TEAM – together, each accomplish more.
If you are looking for someone that can do it all, may I assure you that it isn’t you? Be strong, be courageous, buck the popular belief that you can do it all – ask for help. And, if you want the ultimate strength, don’t forget to invite God into the picture, He’s glad to help those who call on His name.
“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV)
“and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalms 50:15, ESV)