I didn’t want to bother you…
You seem stressed enough as it is…
I didn’t want to burden you when you’re already carrying so much…
I didn’t want you to think I don’t respect your time…
I already ask you for so much…
I don’t want to be a nuisance…
I couldn’t possibly impose on you like that…
Really, I appreciate the consideration. The love that motivates these kind of statements. The obvious care and concern expressed through a desire to give me rest. It’s overwhelming sometimes, how much people care about me. I’m continually blown away by love coming from surprising corners.
However, a long time ago, I said something to that effect to someone, and her reply caught me off guard, and forever made me think differently:
Tiffany, since when do you get to decide how much is too much for me? You are not my mother, and I can decide for myself what is too much.
It hit me hard, and caused me to really wrestle with this issue.
Essentially, when these excuses go through our minds, we are thinking we know better than another what is best for them.
We rob one hurting soul of the chance to help another hurting soul. (After all, we are all walking wounded. Some just a little more busted up than others.)
I’m not saying that we should never consider another soul’s need above our own, but give them the chance to do the same. Sometimes, it is exactly what a soul in pain needs in order to heal just a little bit more. Someone or something to focus on, outside of their world, to remind them that they are not alone, and that God still has good work for them to do. That they are still needed.
Even in our pain, we can step outside ourselves, even if only for a moment, and feel the warm sun on our face. We can see the light again, delicious and golden.
I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to be a help to those I love, even when I’m hurting so badly I can’t see straight.
So, just ask.
Stop assuming anything. Stop deciding for us ahead of time. Just ask.
Show your hurting loved ones you trust them to know their own limits. Make sure we know you have some back-up, in case we really can’t, and we can feel free to say no. Let us know you understand that we are struggling, but that you believe in us and trust us enough to choose well for ourselves.
Above all, we still need to be needed. Even if we can’t always step up, it feels good to know that our loved ones still see our value.
Sometimes, the burdens of others are easier to bear than our own, and helping you is a way for us to just forget for a little while.
On the flip side, it’s always good to ask how you can help, too. Knowing that they are in need too, find out what those needs are. Get a little nosy, ask if they need help catching up on some cleaning, if they need a coffee date to just chat, if they could use a night out with their significant other or their friends. Maybe they just need a quick text or a note letting them know you’re thinking of them. Maybe they need a really good, long hug the next time you see them.
Love each other. Share burdens — including your own — and fulfill the Law of Christ. Love the best way you know how, and if you don’t know, just ask.
This is a lesson I am still learning, and I am constantly fighting this tendency to use the same excuses to keep myself from reaching out and asking for help. If I ever say something like the above statements to you, remind me that you get to decide for yourself what you’re capable of.
Let’s learn together, how to help each other heal, and to let go of our pride. I’ll keep working on it, if you will.
Grace & Peace,