I’m Not Fine

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abby norman -i’m not fine-3

I gave up self-sufficiency for Lent. I didn’t really want to, but I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice. This semester has come on full speed ahead. A few days before it started, I was given an appointment as a head pastor of a small church. I’m taking 15 credit hours. I have two daughters who are in early elementary school and a husband with a terrible commute. I was handling all that just fine.

Then my esophagus broke. Normally when you swallow, your esophagus pushes all the stuff down into your stomach. Mine doesn’t do that. It’s just a tube you can drop things down and hope they don’t get stuck. I have been on a liquid diet for about two weeks.

Hangry (angry because I’m hungry) has been the most predominant emotion I’ve felt. I’m cranky. I’m tired. And I do not want to. I don’t want to write my sermon or feed my kids or let the dog outside or go to class or do my homework or do anything else I’m supposed to do right now. I don’t want to. You can’t make me. Yes, I have pretty much reverted to a two-year-old in my heart of hearts. If I thought anyone would pay attention, I likely would have thrown a fit somewhere in my life, kicking and screaming and telling I-don’t-even-know-who that “They can’t make me” and “I won’t do it.” But I’m a grown up and that isn’t an option.

Instead, I took a good, hard look at myself. I looked to see why I was reacting so strongly to what is a pretty serious annoyance. I found my heart on the altar of self-sufficiency, of “I can do this,” and “I got this,” and “I’m fine and need no help.” I found myself telling people I got this, when the only thing I had was a deep desire to take a nap and eat a cheeseburger. I was worshiping the American Lie of pulling yourself up by your boot straps when I could have been resting in the promise that God provides.

So I pulled off the lie and I pulled up my email. I asked the administrator at my church to start a meal train for me. I asked people to come walk my dog or bring their dog over to play. I asked if anyone would like to make me soup, so I could eat something besides Ensure. I asked them to blend it before they brought it over. And people said yes! They came alongside me.

God hasn’t miraculously healed my esophagus … yet, but God has provided through the love of the church and my community. And in a world that feels scary, divisive and cruel, what better way for me to reflect the light of Jesus Christ than to let other people love me?

Still, it feels hard for me to ask for help, to say “yes” when someone offers help I could genuinely use. It is hard to accept from my friend the offer to fold our clean laundry. It is hard for me to say, “I cannot currently walk my own dog.” Heck, the other day the bagger at the grocery store had to insist I let him do his job and help me out to the car. I just keep telling people, “I’m fine.”

I’m not doing myself any favors. First of all, it is clear that I’m lying when I say I don’t need help. (Like totally completely obvious.) Secondly, if we don’t admit when we need help, the body of Christ cannot work properly. I need help. I cannot do this by myself. I’m not SUPPOSED to do this by myself. I’m supposed to be one part of the body of Christ, and I need to let the other parts help me out for a little bit. What better testimony is there to the world?

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Abby Norman
Abby Norman lives, and loves in the city of Atlanta. She lives with her two hilarious children and a husband that doubles as her biggest fan. When not mothering, teaching, parenting or “wifeing”, she blogs at accidentaldevotional.com. Abby loves to make up words and is excited by the idea that Miriam Webster says you can verb things.
Abby Norman

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Comments

  1. Sarah Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this! I also cling to self-sufficiency, and I’m slowly learning to ask for help. I love how you use the idea of the body of Christ to undercut our tendency to embrace individualism; it’s easier to ask for help if I can remember that I’m a part of a larger whole.

  2. Woman are so strong–and we’re so weak in our strength. Thanks for demonstrating the importance of community and vulnerability, all in one beautiful offering.

  3. Angela Hutton says:

    Thank you soooo much for sharing this.

  4. Aren’t communities just amazing? It’s like we’re all itching to take care of each other and are just waiting for the invitation. I’m so glad you invited your people in. What an incredible lesson!

  5. Oh Abby Norman, I love you xoxo

  6. I hadn’t m appendix rupture and had surgery 11 days ago and it has thrown me into exactly this too! Thank you for your honesty.

  7. Tracy Nelson says:

    Good girl. I get how hard that is for you …. I GET it. I learned a TON through my achilles tendon tear and how to bless others by allowing them to help me … what a crazy concept. But still, I am praying physical healing for you, as you listen, learn, lean into Jesus.

  8. Taylor Phillips says:

    “Secondly, if we don’t admit when we need help, the body of Christ cannot work properly.”
    This is such a conveying reminder to quit isolating myself and ask for help—better yet, BE help.

  9. Abby this is SO not the American way but it is the right way! I hear you. It took my son to tell me that when people offer help, they need to know they’re needed too. I should disclose that “helps” is not one of my spiritual gifts so I sort of have to be hit in the face with a request but the willing part is there. Keep asking because we’re willing and that’s how it’s suppose to work.

    • Abby Norman says:

      I have been SO amazed by how being needed is so important to people. One of my friend’s mom put herself in charge of my soups and it has been AMAZING! I GAINED WEIGHT!

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