My name is Fr. Anthony and I am an independent-aholic. You know what that is, right? An independent-aholic is someone who wants to do everything on their own; they never want to ask for help. Independent-aholics are usually pretty successful in life, but eventually we all meet our match. At times we’ll find ourselves face to face with a problem that is bigger than us and we have to decide what to do.
A normal person’s response? ASK FOR HELP
An independent-aholic’s preferred response? TRY HARDER AND HARDER AND HARDER TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN AND REFUSE TO ASK FOR HELP AT ALL COSTS.
For example, let’s say there is a large refrigerator in front of me and I need to carry it from my kitchen and out to the curb (this is actually a semi-true story for me). The normal thing to do would be to find a friend who can help me carry it.
The independent-aholic thing to do would be to try to move it yourself – inflicting an unnecessary amount of stress on your body and straining several muscles along the way. Not only is this methodology extremely painful/stressful on one’s body, but in the end it isn’t even very effective. Even if I was able to move the refrigerator a foot or two, there’s no way I could move it across the kitchen, or into the garage, or out of the house and onto the curb of the driveway. There’s just no way I could do that without help!
Why do we try to do spiritually what we know we can’t do physically?
We all have burdens we can’t carry. We have weights that are just too big for us to lift alone. These are the habits, addictions, sinful behaviors that we’ve known about and been fighting for years. FOR YEARS!
Yet, we constantly resist getting help. We know that without help we can’t move that burden on our own. Logic says that if it was possible for us to do it alone, we would have done it a long time ago. God knows we’ve been trying and the fact that we haven’t succeeded further highlights our need for help.
Said another way: If you could’ve you would’ve – but you can’t so you won’t!
The Bible says it this way:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The problem with trying to do everything on our own is that:
A) IT IS TIRING. The burden is too heavy to carry alone and trying to do so causes unnecessary stress upon us.
B) IT IS FRUSTRATING. Nothing is more frustrating that expending a lot of energy for a very little bit of results – as opposed to asking for help and spending less energy for greater results.
C) IT IS INEFFECTIVE. Even if we find some success in the short term, it is completely unsustainable in the long run. You might be able to carry the burden today and tomorrow, but how long can you really sustain that on your own?
Believe me, no one hates this principle more than me. I hate asking for help. My pride wants to convince me that “I don’t need help… I can figure this out if I just had a little more time… yeah, that’s it… I’ll get it next time.”
That is nonsense. If you could’ve you would’ve, but you can’t so you won’t.
So what should you do? Today I want to focus on the principle that we all need help with our heaviest burdens in life and later this week, I’ll talk about the specific steps that we can take to implement.
But what do you think about the principle first? Do you agree that you can’t do it alone? Think about the problem that you’ve been struggling with for years: is it maybe time to admit that you might need some help to overcome it?
Your problem isn’t your problem. Your problem is your pride that refuses to admit that you need help overcoming your problem.
(you may need to read that again).
For discussion: do you agree with the principle that you can’t solve all your problems on your own? Why or why not?