I need help. Those words make up a terrible yet wonderful phrase. I hate to say them. I hate acknowledging my own failures and inadequacies. I hate the vulnerability it requires of me. And yet, there are obstacles that would still be left unchallenged or unconquered if I had not uttered them. There are debts that would still remain outstanding if others had not come to my rescue. It is humbling.
My lesson started Tuesday night as I picked up my niece and nephew from Daycare. Their class had celebrated everyone’s birthday and they each had a bag of goodies. A bag they were very clearly told to leave alone until we arrived home. My niece, Danielle, had a little difficulty with this and was soon honking away on a party favor she’d found among her treats. I demanded she put the toy back in the bag, and as I expected, she fought me. However, after she finally obeyed she surprised me. She gave me the bag so she “wouldn’t be able to get into it.” She knew she wouldn’t obey so long as she held it. She recognized temptation, knew she wasn’t up to the challenge, and chose to ask for help by giving power over that temptation to someone else. Those actions lingered with me. Apparently God thought I needed another demonstration. This time at the hands of my nephew. In short, he did the exact same thing his sister had done. He handed over temptation, his magnets, when dinner had to be a priority. I was both proud and challenged at the same time. Their actions have left me thinking constantly about places I need to hand over my temptations and ask for help.
There’s a simple word for this kind of interdependence, but until a text I received today I had forgotten it. That word is accountability. When we can’t stand up to temptation, we enlist the help of others to hold us to our convictions. In essence, we call on them to partner with us so we can live the life we want to be living. We ask for help.
What does this look like for me now? I need accountability with my writing. I am slowly becoming aware of the enemies I face as a writer. Fear. Laziness. Distraction. They are daunting, but they are not all powerful. I just need a little help. The help of a few people I can hand my temptation to and say, “Hold onto this for a while. I can’t trust myself with it right now.” I long for these people, and I’m starting to understand why I long for them. Even if it means exposing my weakness. It is because I really do want that life that seems to be waiting just out of reach. The one where I am writing and publishing novels and children’s books. The one where I can afford to stretch a bit more and do more than just scrape by. You know the one. I have a feeling you have one just like it, and I hope you’re living it. But, if you’re not, maybe this life lesson is as good for you as it has been for me. Try saying those three little words with me.
“I need help.”