Find Your Squad

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Anne Berkie Carrasco -Find Your Squad3By Anne Berkie Carrasco | Twitter: @berkie

It was just another average night at home. I was standing in my kitchen in my undies making protein pancakes for dinner when suddenly I burst into tears. It took me a full 30 minutes and three burned pancakes before I could calm myself down.

It had been a busy and stressful couple of months. I was purchasing my first home, deciding on a career change, and planning an important fundraiser for my non-profit organization. Big changes, big decisions, high stakes. I felt like I had it under control, like I had this. But it all came gushing out that evening in my kitchen when I realized, I don’t have this, I need help, I can’t do it alone. I was so tired.

***

“What you are doing is not good … The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” —Exodus 18:17-18

When you’ve been single for long, handling things alone almost becomes a badge of honor. After a year or two or 10 of being single, you think you can and should do it all alone. You fiercely hold onto your “independence.” You don’t need help from “no man,” “no friend,” “no family,” nor “no kind random stranger who wants to help you with your grocery bags.” You’re a self-made woman and you got this!

There was a time not so long ago when I wouldn’t ask anyone for anything—not a favor, not a ride, not to wait because I’d be five minutes late. However, it did not make me feel liberated or empowered. It made me feel isolated, lonely and cynical.

Unfortunately, this bad habit creeps right back up when I’m stressed, worried, and tired. I have done a lot of work in this area but I find myself falling back into “fierce independence” when what I actually need the most is the support.

God made us for community. God made us to help each other. God made us to show each other His love through our love for each other.

If you’re like me, you’re really good at supporting others, but you try to keep your own burdens and concerns to yourself. It is easy for me to be there for others. It is still hard to let others be there for me. I’d rather wear myself down than burden someone else. Also, if you’ve got any extra burdens, I’ll take those, too!

***

In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law tells him that what he’s doing is “not good,” not meaning that it was morally wrong but that Moses would wear himself out … and wear out those who came to him seeking guidance. When the work is too heavy, everyone ends up feeling unsatisfied.

“But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” —Exodus 18:21

Moses needed some #squadgoals! Moses needed himself a squad, a squad that loved God, that was honest, and that would take on some of his labor.

***

I stood in my kitchen, spatula in hand, stomach in knots with tears streaming down my face. When you truly believe you need to go at things alone, even blessings can become sources of pain and frustration. All of the things that were happening in my life were things I had waited for, things I had prayed for, but they were work. While it was all finally happening, I still felt lonely and the need to be self-reliant.

I’ve always had a “squad,” not a cohesive group of women who all do book club once a month or are all on the same group text, but a good, core group of women who love God and love me. I wasn’t, however, really tapping into the benefits, the support, and the joy that came from these relationships. I wasn’t allowing these women to see my fears, my tears and my struggles. Sharing my burden with these women has been the most life-changing and life-shaking experience. If you ask me how having a conversation here, asking a favor there, or accepting a kindness there can change your life I have no answer besides “that’s God.”

I was learning to let God work in me through the kindness of others.

Being single had made me harder, closed, and self-reliant. But I have my squad. Just like Moses, I chose to lean on my squad. Instead of growing angry at the world, retreating into myself, or taking more on to prove that I didn’t need anyone. I picked up the phone to tell someone very close to me that I needed a short break from taking on more of her burdens that I can handle.

And guess what? She still loves me. Then I picked up the phone and called a friend. When she picked up, the tears started fresh and I blurted out, “I’m not as strong as people think I am, I’m tired” and she simply said, “I know.” She talked with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and got me back on track. Feeling better and remembering that I do not need to do things on my own, I figured out how my squad could help me get through the next several weeks and they of course did.

They did by checking in on me every few days, they did by donating their time, treasure, and talent to my fundraising efforts, they did by helping me pack and move, they did by reassuring me that I could do what was best for me and not what was expected of me. Each action, phone call, text message quelled my fears and anxieties about taking such huge steps on my own by showing me that I am not nor have I ever been alone.

This is what my squad does for me in times of joy, trouble, sadness and grief.

SheLovelies, I hope that you find your squad, let them in and hold onto them more fiercely than you ever held onto your independence. With your squad in formation, may you start letting go of whatever’s causing you fear, anxiety, sadness, self-doubt, bitterness, discouragement, pride, anger, loneliness, or whatever is keeping you from letting them in.

There is so much to gain not just by doing what is good, but also by sharing your burden with a few capable friends.

 


Anne Carrasco - Bio PicAnne Berkie Carrasco is a practicing attorney, travel junkie, and health enthusiast.  A woman on a spiritual mission to lift others, she also serves on the board of the nonprofit organization and leads their mission trips to Ghana. In her spare time, Anne enjoys cooking, going on adventures, spending time with her dog Mao, and giving expert advice to her friends, one single lady to another.

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  • Smiling at your friend’s “I know” when you confessed your lack of strength.
    It’s a good reminder that we may be the only ones who think that we are omnipotent.

    • Anne Carrasco

      Thank you for the comment! It was definitely a reminder to that “the jig was up” and that our friends are their waiting if only we would let them in!

  • Melissa Henderson

    Sharing our burdens and asking for prayers is a blessing to others as well as a blessing to us. 🙂

    • Anne Carrasco

      Amen! Thank you for the comment!

  • W. Lois Kahagi

    So nice to see what you are doing Anne! Don’t stop. I am in your squad.

  • Love your voice here, Anne! Ugh, as a strong woman, I am with you on how hard it is to ask for help. But I hear you and I am learning. I so appreciate my squad.

    • Anne Carrasco

      Thank you for the comment! It’s hard but necessary work to learn to let others help!

  • Melaney G Lyall

    Anne!! I’m sure I’m floating in the same boat of independence. Thank you for expressing this so well.
    Here’s to inter-dependence!

    • Anne Carrasco

      Thank you for the comment! Inter-dependence, I like that!! 🙂

  • I’m grateful to be married now, but I was single and living overseas for a number of years, and it necessitated a certain amount of fierce independence. And it is a fall back when I’m stressed and anxious. Obviously, it’s not a great fallback and I’m always brought back around by people who love me and, yes, that I need. This is so beautifully written. I don’t know you–but can tell what a woman of strength you are from your words!!

    • Anne Carrasco

      Thank you for commenting and sharing a bit of your story. It sure is eye opening when we realize we need others.

  • I’m married, but have a similar drive to always be pushing forward alone, to prove that I can take care of others better than they can take care of themselves. Thank you for this reminder that I can gently say, “No, I cannot carry this for you right now.” <3

  • Yamie Mlangiza

    This is inspiring. I believe I have the same problem sometimes. Its hard for me to let people in. Sometimes I feel like I live in my own little world and I don’t want to anymore. Thank you for is. I really needed it.