By Angie Koenig
For most of my life, I have done everything imaginable to avoid needing help.
“Can I help you with that?”
“Oh no, thanks, I got it!” – My consistent response delivered with a smile.
I never wanted to be a bother, a burden to anyone around me. Wounds from childhood have left me feeling like I need to manage on my own. I never thought I was hurting anyone by being self-sufficient, my very intent was decidedly not to upset anyone by being an irritation to their otherwise beautiful day.
My eyes were opened to my ignorance, though, one summer afternoon when my sister-in-law recounted something to me that I had overlooked a few days prior when she and my brother had been hosting a couple from Spain. Hands full and barely able to open the door, I was asked by the gentleman from abroad if I wanted help. Of course, my reply was the same as always, “Nah, I got it, but thank you.”
I thought nothing of the encounter. Had my sister-in-law not brought it up, it probably wouldn’t have even gone into my long term memory storage. But she did bring it up because unbeknownst to me, I had really offended her guest. After I had left the day that he offered me assistance, he asked my sister-in-law if I had a problem with him because I wouldn’t let him help me. She explained to him that it was nothing he did, it’s just how I am.
Needless to say, I felt absolutely terrible. Her guests were lovely and I had thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them while there were visiting. I thought I was being kind by not wanting to bother him, turns out that’s not how he saw it. And it got me thinking, how many other times have I hurt people, men and women alike, by refusing to accept their kindness?
For so many years I thought that the way to a person’s heart was to avoid needing their help, but in reality, that’s a very good way to push people away. We are constantly reminded that love is a verb, and if a verb, then by definition love is an action. Love is service, and if we don’t allow others to serve us in the many ways they can and want to, we are rejecting love in our lives.
When you embrace your true identity, that of a beloved child of God, you will come to realize that accepting assistance doesn’t make you helpless, it makes you selfless. By allowing others to help you, in little or big situations, you have an opportunity to snuff out the flame of pride that grows in your heart by saying no to your desire to “prove” your own abilities. So yes, We Can Do It! but isn’t it beautiful that we don’t always have to?
As we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, I can’t help but think that this is a perfect time to evaluate what we are doing to lift others up in the Kingdom of God, especially men, who are so intrinsically wired to come to our aide. I’ll be honest with you sisters, as an independent woman, it’s hard to ask for and receive help, and it’s something I’m still learning how to do gracefully.
But then I remember the gentleman who has my heart; He is the flawless example of a person who allowed Himself to be loved, even if He did come to serve and not be served (Matt 20:28). Every day I strive to be more like my Savior and to see and embrace love when it’s offered.
So here’s to the men who open doors! They are exquisite images of our loving Father. May their humble gift of love and service never go unappreciated by those whom they seek to serve.
About the author:
Angie Koenig is a passionate follower of Jesus working her way through life as a Millennial. She is the youngest of nine children and embraces her role as a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. Angie blogs about her love story with Jesus at www.spirituallyspokenfor.com. Currently, she resides in Eau Claire, WI where she enjoys anything that involves coffee.
A similar situation happened, yesterday, at my fourth grade grandson’s baseball tournament. His brother, my eight-year old grandson LOVES dogs. There was a woman who had a dog with her watching the game, and the dog’s little bowl was empty, so my daughter and I mentioned to him that he should ask the lady if he could fill the dog’s dish with water. A few times he was about to ask, then came back. I’m thinking (after reading this wonderful story of yours) that rather than him being shy, maybe he’s asked to help others before and has been turned down. I agree that I will start accepting people’s kind offers of assistance next time someone asks me if they can help. THANK YOU, Angie! I know how much I love it when someone accepts my offer of help, so I need to do the same. God bless you!
Thank you for sharing your story! I feel like for so long, society has been all about girl power. Encouraging girls is, of course, wonderful, but it seems to me that our young men have been left behind. I pray that your grandson is given the opportunity to live out his love for others through his gift of service!
What a wonderful glimpse into something that people do all the time–thinking that being self-sufficient is a virtue, when actually we were created to give and to receive. Very well written blog post! Thanks!
Thank you Emily! I went to a healing retreat last year and one of the things they talked about was unholy self-reliance, it really hit home with me because I realized I had been living most of my life that way and I had never thought it to be unholy. God spoke to me through that retreat, though, and helped me to see the flaw in my thinking. Praise Him for the Grace He sends when we need it most!
What a beautiful reminder, Angie! I just denied a young shuttle bus driver the same opportunity by loading my own luggage after his offer of help, and something made me feel bad about it. This is why! God bless you.
Thank you Kitty! Jason Evert has a quote that I love, “When a culture of ladies arises, a culture of gentlemen will follow.” I think we often forget how much our actions, how ever small, impact others, especially men. After I graduated college, I listened to a talk on CD by Fr. Mike Schmitz on this topic and it completely changed my view of men and how to relate to them. I fail often, but I feel like its those times that God uses to remind me that I have a duty to all my brothers in Christ to encourage them to be the Godly men they are called to be – even if its something as small as carrying a bag or opening a door. 🙂
Wow! This really hit home. Thank you so much for your beautiful words. I had a family member tell me that sometimes serving others comes in the form of allowing them to serve you. That was eye opening to me and very relevant to your thoughts. You have reminded me to keep this in mind. And I agree, I am so appreciative when someone holds the door for me!!!
Thank you for your comments Jodi! Allowing others to love us through service can be difficult, but boy is it worth it when the fruit of our humility opens the door for God to shower graces on those who seek to serve us. God bless!
This really touched my heart. I always make sure to say thank you to men who open doors, because there just aren’t as many anymore (probably in part because I, like you, used to say, “I’ve got it.” Profound post! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful eye opener incident, Angie. I still accept & appreciate men who open doors (very few of them around). In other ways though, I may be refusing the help of others unknowingly hurting them.
This is an eye opener about pride!!!