As Americans we’re taught that being independent is a great value. And in some ways it is. It is important to grow up and become an adult and take care of yourself.
However, the Bible teaches us that God made us to be dependent. We depend on Jesus for our salvation and we depend on the Holy Spirit for our sanctification. Not only that, but we know that the triune God — Father, Son, and Spirit — are social. Part of us being made in His image is that we are social beings.
The Bible also teaches about the church and our community within the church. Over 50 times the Bible gives us a “one another” command. For example John 15:17, “This I command to you, that you love one another.” and Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (emphasis added) We’re also told to rejoice with those who rejoice and morn with those who morn. The Bible commands us to live in community.
I’ve lived in Utah for almost 10 years now. Ten years of adult life without any family nearby or long-time friends. I’ve learned to just get things done. My handsome husband is a hard worker and has faithfully provided for our family. But, he works full-time, and I can’t ask him to help me with everything that comes up. When I’m sick and the kids are sick, we muddle through. When my back starts acting up, the kids get to watch a lot of TV and I drive around in pain. Date nights were at a minimum (babysitters are expensive, and we don’t pay ours enough!) As the kids have gotten older, it’s gotten easier, but I’ve gotten really good at being on my own and just figuring it out.
Last month my parents were visiting for an extended period of time. We all arrived in Utah on the 18th (after quite the road trip) and on the 19th I strained my calf muscle so badly that I couldn’t walk. I woke up on the 20th and as my husband left for work he encouraged me to call my mom so that she could help me. I was hesitant. My parents had been stuck in the car with myself and my children for days and I wanted to give them a break. So, I hesitated to ask my parents for help. MY PARENTS. The people who gave me life, fed me, clothed me, wiped my bottom, paid for my college, the people who love me selflessly and unconditionally. I know that may not be true for all people, but it’s true for me. My parents love me. And without my asking, they came over. My mom watched my kids and my dad took me to the doctor. I was helpless, and they helped me.
But what struck me was not only that I was hesitant to ask for help, but I was hesitant to ask my parents. In the 10 years I’d lived in Utah, I had become so independent, that I didn’t even want to ask my parents for help. This is not OK. This is pride. When we’re not willing to live in community and ask for help, we’re being prideful. In Utah, there are a lot of people who don’t have family nearby. We, as the church, need to be family for one another. This means that we not only need to be willing to ask for help, but we also need to be willing to be inconvenienced and offer help whenever possible.
I’m very blessed. After almost 10 years, we’ve made some good friends and have attended churches where other people have been willing to be inconvenienced for my sake, for the sake of the body of Christ they have practiced the “one anothers” and been hands and feet to me.
Thank you Jesus, for creating us to live in community. Lord, humble me and give me willingness to ask and receive help when I need it. And give me a heart that leaps at the opportunity to help others.