everyday life · Inspiration · Medullary Cystic Kidney Disease · Words to live by

Say Yes.

I did something today that was really difficult.

I accepted help from someone.

A close family friend, who has been like a second mama to me since birth, told me she wanted to come over and help me with whatever it was I needed help with. Can you believe that thoughtfulness?

Of course I wanted to say no. My first thought was “Um… absolutely not, because then you will see my home and see my mess”. The thought was horrifying, because Mrs Sherry is someone I hold in the highest regard. She is the quintessential homemaker. Mary Poppins, even. Practically perfect in every way. So I really wanted to say no.  But she cornered me and called me on the phone and made me promise I would accept her help. I couldn’t say no, and I’m so glad I didn’t.

I’ve been so tired lately and just feeling pretty yucky. As I’m sure you know, all it takes is one or two days of not doing housework for things to begin piling up; and playing ‘catchup’ is like a Unicorn. Spoken of in hushed, whispered voices but there’s never any solid proof of someone actually catching up on all their housework. And the mini Bakers in our home seem to approach scattering toys and pouring food on the floor like it’s their job. Not to mention how much laundry they create. Lately I find myself just getting through the top few tasks on the housekeeping to-do list, whatever is a necessity for us to keep on living; the rest of the to-do’s are relegated to the bottom in the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” section. Like cleaning out the fridge. So that’s what Mrs. Sherry helped me do today. She was totally prepared to tackle it by herself, but I’ve been feeling good this week, so we worked on it together. Just having someone work alongside me helped the task seem more manageable and prolonged my energy so I didn’t feel like sitting down halfway through.

My mom will often come over to help me tackle a project, too, and she’s been doing that since forever because she knows me and my unorganized self and knows I’m the “starter of many projects, finisher of very few”. It’s hard for me to accept her help as well, but I do; especially now because I really need it… and also she doesn’t really ask. She just sort of shows up {which I love}. And she’s proven over the years that she still loves me in spite of those times when I just can’t do anymore and my home bears the consequences, despite my wishes to do more and be more. More organized. More consistent with cleaning. More adept at ironing. The list goes on.

I know I’m not the only one out there who has a hard time accepting help from others. I honestly had a hard time resisting the urge to clean everything before my helper came over today. There’s something about allowing someone into your home that shines a spotlight on your vulnerabilities. The real you.  The real home. You know, the home you live in with its dishes in the sink and questionable liquid beside the toilet because kids? {Side note: if you are one of those people with a housekeeping superpower and your clean folded clothing makes it all the way to the dresser, this post is not for you. move along. actually, please stay. Stay and share your secrets with us. We want to be you. for real}.

Allowing people to see the areas where we are big fat failures opens us up for judgement. And I don’t know about you, but I will flat out cry ugly tears if I think someone may be judging my housekeeping skills. I mean, I judge myself every day for my inability to commit to seeing the laundry through from start to finish; but that doesn’t mean I’ll survive someone else judging me for it. For some reason I seem to equate receiving help with acknowledging my imperfections to the outside world. I wasn’t able to do it, so they had to step in. And that makes me feel like poop. Constantly failing at getting everything done that I wish to get done.

But guess what? I can’ t do ALL THE THINGS. I just can’t. I’ve had to remind myself daily of this natural law of time passing that there are just some things I’m not able to do. Each day I have a “To-Do “list. Which means each day I also have a “Don’t” list. A list of things I won’t be able to get to. When work and church things and the gym and Will’s therapies and laundry and grocery shopping are on the to-do list, that usually means I won’t be painting my baseboards or sifting through the pile of paperwork that has accumulated on the counter or maybe only one bathroom gets cleaned.  Maybe others are judging me for that. I feel like it might be human nature to judge others by the amount of things that fall on someone else’s “Don’t” list. But I don’t want that to be my nature. Instead we should be looking more closely at others “To-Do” lists and thinking of ways we can help alleviate their burden. Not because they are failing at life {though sometimes it feels that way}, but because helping one another is what God created us to do.

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

Romans 15:1

I don’t think this verse pertains to only spiritual needs, and if God calls us to look after those around us and help where we can, then he is also expecting us to accept the help that is offered to us.

maya angelou

I’m not sure why I don’t wan’t to say Yes when others offer to help me. I mean, when I offer to help someone clean or run an errand or whatever it may be, I’m offering because I want you to know “I SEE YOU, and I UNDERSTAND, and ME TOO…. so LET ME HELP”. I’m certainly not saying “oh my lawd….. can you believe she doesn’t fold her fitted sheet? I’m gonna help this poor dear do this properly because she is obviously a wreck at life”.

If people do judge me {which I’m sure they do, because people are Judgy-McJudgersons} it’s not like they are thinking something I don’t already think about myself; but if I’m being truly honest, it’s that fear of judgement that keeps me from saying ‘yes’ when someone offers to help me. If I don’t accept help, and if I don’t let them in to see the real hot mess that is my life, then I can continue to fool the rest of the world into thinking I’m a successful adult.

There are very few people who I allow to come into my #nofilter home and wander about. They’ve been vetted and don’t seem to care about the crazy craft supply corner in my room and don’t bat an eye at scooting 3 loads of laundry aside on the couch so they have a place to sit.  Today, I gained another #nofilter friend because I said YES, even though I wanted to say NO. She came. She brought me coffee. She cleaned. She let me cry on her shoulder. Then she left and said “See you next time”. and I’m so incredibly thankful for that.

Let’s act like God urges us to act. Lend the hand. Offer the help. Walk beside and ask “What can I do?”.

Which also means:  Be willing to accept the offer. Drink the coffee. Use the shoulder to cry on. Open the fridge and show the mess.

xoxo,

Ashley

3 thoughts on “Say Yes.

  1. Ashley,
    I feel like we are kindred spirits. My husband thinks I’m crazy for cleaning before the cleaning people come. I always feel like I’m being judged by the state of my house because it’s usually a hot mess in my opinion. You are also right about mommas. Every time mine comes I know she will help me clean up and she always does the dishes. Love you much and miss you.
    Jeanna

    1. Mamas are so good at helping. It’s hard to let them, but I know that I will do the same for my kiddos when they are older so I kind of get their need to help 🙂 Doesn’t make it easier though lol

  2. Ashley,

    I think you put into words what most of us (at least me) is not willing to admit. I for one have always seen having someone help me akin to admitting I failed in that area. Thank you for sharing this and being so transparent and vulnerable.

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