Ask Simon

Since we are being honest here….

I have a problem asking for help. I’m getting better when it comes to my husband. We have been married eight and a half years, so I guess it’s about time that I start getting better at it. But asking others for help: nope. Don’t like it. I avoid it at all costs. It doesn’t matter if its financial help, help watching the kids, help cleaning/cooking/etc, or help with my emotions. I just don’t like to do it. I like to feel like I have it all under control. I like to feel like my exceptional planning and organizing and worrying and stressing and being a control freak has lead me to keep it all together. All on my own.

This plays out in my home with my kids and husband. It manifests itself in all my relationships. Let that sink in. ALL my relationships. I’m the one that has it together. I like being the one that everyone can count on to get stuff done. I’m the one without a care in the world because I have stressed myself to perfection.

Uh.

I’m full of crap. I don’t have it all together. I am so far from perfect that perfect and Sarah shouldn’t ever be mentioned in the same sentence. Ever. And as a result, all of my relationships suffer. All of them.

Even the most important one. The one with my Father. Not Steve Stoltzfus, my biological father. The father of Heaven and Earth. The Creator. The Alpha and Omega. My Friend. Jesus Christ. The one Person that I should have no trouble asking to help me, I just can’t seem to do it.

I’m working on it.

The other day, I was reading about the crucifixion in Matthew 27. I have read the account many times, in each of the gospels. Then I got to verse 32 and my jaw dropped. Jesus needed help carrying his cross. Why in the world had I never seen that before? For me, it made the verses earlier in Matthew make much more sense and applicable. Jesus had told his disciples in chapter 16 that if anyone wanted to be his follower, then they should take up their cross and follow Him. I always thought that verse contradicted the verses where he says that His yoke is easy and the burden is light. In my head, how in the world could the yoke be easy if I was also carrying a cross? I mean, I knew that I wasn’t wearing an actual yoke and I wasn’t carrying an actual cross, but a cross is heavy! Even a metaphorical one.

So I need to get over my control freak complex. I need to learn that I can’t fix everything on my own. I need to learn to ask my “Simon” for help when I need it. I need to learn that my help really does come from the Lord, the creator of Heaven and Earth. I need to learn that He has sent some Simons to help me out, but I need to approach them.

If Jesus, the Son of God, needed help carrying His cross, why in the world do I think I have to carry mine all on my own? Like Jesus, I’ll take up my cross. I’ll walk and struggle under its weight. Then a “Simon” will come and help me out. I’ll probably have to ask for the help since I don’t have soldiers forcing my cross on to someone else, but if I can muster the courage to ask for help, help is going to come. It may not look like I want it to look, but help will come.

at dawn, look to the east

I think it is interesting to note that most all cultures on this planet have a reverence for the east. The answer to “why the east?” is simple. The sun comes up in the east. The day starts in the east. Newness and a blank slate begins in the east. For me, hope comes from the east.

In the darkest of nights, when everything is hard to understand and you can’t wrap your head around anything, the sun always comes up. The eastern horizon will always lighten and come alive. The sun pierces the darkness and chases away the shadows. When the light comes, things don’t seem so bad. The light helps make sense of the previous night’s senseless thoughts. And while those long night hours seem to drag on, there is the hope and the knowledge that the sun is coming. There is hope that your brokenness won’t last forever. Hope that your darkness can be turned to light.

The psalmist tells us in Psalm 30 that the sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I have clung to this psalm in my darkest hours. When I was fighting to hold on to my failing sanity, I knew that if I could just make it through the night, joy would come. The darkness would slink away and the light would burst through the window. Later in that same psalm, the psalmist praises God for turning his mourning into dancing. I like to replace the that mourning for the word morning sometimes. When the darkness finally leaves and I can see clearly, my morning turns to dancing. I stand up and have a ‘dance party’ because “You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.” Sometimes I don’t want to have that dance party. Sometimes I want to stay in bed and pull the covers up and hide. But what is the use in that?

See, faith is a matter of will. It is a choice. You have to want it. You can choose to close the curtains and refuse to let the light in, or you can choose to throw open the window and let the sun chase away the shadows. The sun comes up regardless of your choice though. The same thing applies to the Son. He’s going to be there, regardless of what you choose. You can chose to let Him in, or you can choose to deny Him access to your life. He’s not pushy. He’s waiting for your choice. You can chose joy, regardless of your circumstances, or you can choose to stay in darkness.

It’s not always easy. Not going to lie about that. This whole being a Christ follower is not an easy gig sometimes. Sometimes it is hard to understand and you can’t wrap your head around this man called Christ and His Father God. I have found, though, that the choice to dance is always the best choice. Because once you start dancing, it’s hard to stop smiling.