Over the course of nearly the past four years, my grandfather has been dying of prostrate cancer. As the cancer has rapidly been taking over his body, I’ve noticed some things:
- He refuses help from everyone that loves and cares for him.
- He refuses to accept that he’s dying
- He refuses to give up the little control that he has over the circumstances that have overtaken his life.
I could vilify my grandfather, but the truth is, its amplified and shown me some things that I really don’t like about myself, helping me realize I’m not that different from him. For example:
- I hate asking for help.
- I hate not knowing what the future holds.
When thinking about these statements, what sucks is that I realize that I struggle with the exact same things my grandfather struggles with.
I hate asking for help because I’m a prideful man who can “do it himself” (prime example—as an RA I once tried to set up a lofted bed by myself, because I did not want to be a burden to anyone, and did not want to “belittle myself” by having to ask for help. After trying to hold up a bed frame with my foot, while pushing up the springboard with my back, at the same time attempting to lock in the bed frame and dropping the bed on myself, I finally asked for help. Seriously, how much of a stubborn jackanus can I be?) Because of this, I really suck at delegating, I put too much on myself in group projects, in ministry, and sometimes even in life. If you ever see me do this, punch me in the face (not literally, of course), in love.
I hate not knowing what the future holds because it shows how little control I have in life. After all, I could die tomorrow from a brain aneurysm, get hit by a car, or lose my job. While these are morbid and terrifying thoughts, these things can happen, and shows how much life is (really) completely out of my control, and should lead me to rely that God knows what will happen, and the best thing I can do is follow Him and see where He leads me. Instead, I often try to make plans, stress about what’s to come, and try to fight through life solo (but we need community, especially me as somewhat of an extrovert). This makes me realize…crap…I’m really close to the characteristics that drive me crazy about my grandpa.
Maybe you can relate to my plight. Maybe you, too, have the attitude of “I’M A MAN (or woman), DANGITT. I’LL DO IT MYSELF.” The truth is if you struggle with this like me is, we’re prideful and we suck. I’m not saying this so that we can beat ourselves up and talk trash about ourselves, but so that we can start to kill our pride.
The only way to begin to kill our pride (in my Christian-worldview-opinion [which if you’re not a Christian I don’t mind if you disagree with me, though I do want you to know Jesus]) is through the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. Author and theologian C.S. Lewis called pride “the great sin” in his book Mere Christianity (which I would strongly suggest reading), and believed that pride was the root of ALL sin. (If you don't like this, know that Martin Luther, John Calvin, Saint Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas taught this as well. So take your pick of who you like for this teaching.) We raise ourselves above the Authority of God, and think that we know better than Him.
When I refuse to ask for help, I think that I know better than God, instead of being in the type of community that God created me to live in. Part of being in a community of believers is sometimes having to ask for help.
When I want to be in control of my future, I think that whatever future God holds for me isn’t worth waiting for, and that I need to make my own way instead of submitting to what God has before me. (I’m not saying that God’s future for us takes hard work, but that’s another subject for another day.)
We need to pray that God humbles us and kills our pride. We need to realize that, we’re prideful, we suck, and we need God. Without Him, I would be a prideful jerk. With Him, I’m a prideful jerk, but I am continually striving to be better. Maybe you need help striving like me, too.