Pride, and Being on the Receiving End

Since breaking my ankle at the end of June, I’ve been dependent on my husband for … well, for pretty much everything. He brings me coffee and water and meals on a tray. He does ALL the laundry, ALL the dishes, ALL the meal cleanup. He takes me wherever I need to go, helps me navigate safely on crutches, pushes me in the wheelchair, gets my clothes, helps me dress. The list goes on and on. This saintly man even carries my purse! (Though he would laugh at the idea of being called ‘saintly’.)

And not only Ted, but a whole list of family and friends have gone out of their way to help me. They’ve left their families at home to stay with me, cleaned my house, cooked my meals, washed my dishes, brought me flowers and gifts, visited me, sent cheery cards, and said so many prayers the Lord is probably weary of hearing my name.

Being injured has been a humbling experience. I absolutely love helping others. I love doing something to help meet a need someone else has. It makes me feel good to know I’ve been a blessing to another person. But it’s a lot harder to be on the receiving end than I expected. In fact, it can be downright uncomfortable. This experience with my ankle has taught me something about myself: I’ve got a huge amount of pride that I didn’t know about.

Pride is a dangerous attribute, because it affects our relationship with God. The Bible tells us time and again that the Lord hates a prideful heart, that pride stops us from receiving His blessings, and that it deceives us into thinking we are sufficient on our own without Him and without others. Let me tell you, in the past month I’ve been the farthest thing from self-sufficient - I can’t take care of even the slightest physical need. The good news is that I haven’t had to. The Lord has met every need through a host of cheerful and giving people.

As I sit in my recliner with my foot propped on a pillow while my husband cooks dinner, I’ve contemplated the discomfort I’ve felt in allowing others to help me for the past month or so, and I realized that there are many areas in my life affected by pride. It has nothing to do with my ankle. I regularly overextend myself by taking on too much, and then shy away from asking for help. I refuse to embarrass myself by asking for help in managing my personal finances, even though my husband is a financial whiz. I silently bear heartache and emotional pain rather than admit that I need comfort, or that my feelings have been hurt.

It’s humbling to be forced to rely on others. It makes us feel helpless and incapable. But you know what? God put us in the midst of other people for a reason. He intended all along that we would serve each other and bear one another’s burdens, and in doing so spread His love and blessings all around the world.

I think I’ve learned a lesson from this experience. From now on, my service to others will be more compassionate because I have a fresh awareness of the feelings involved in receiving help. And I will be more open to being on the receiving end. Putting pride aside, I’ll open my hands for the blessings He wants to place in them.