Tears of shame welled in my eyes.
I surveyed the ruptured root beer cans which still spun on the floor. Their sticky, liquidy, brown contents had splattered all over the room and all over me. Even the ceiling was marked by their explosive force.
What had just happened?
What had I just done?
Seconds earlier, I had entered our laundry room to retrieve a box of long-life milk. We store this extra milk above our refrigerator. Believing I would be in and out of this room in seconds, I chose not to turn on the light. Thus, in the darkness of that early morning hour, I reached high above me to pull down the six-pack box of long-life milk. However, next to the box of milk, an open box of canned root beer lay. As I reached for the milk box, this activity must have unsettled the box of root beer and dislodged two of the cans. With no opportunity to see and no chance to react, the cans of root beer dropped like bombs. The impact detonated and its powerful discharge radiated sticky, fluid blasts all over the room.
This shouldn’t have happened. I had no time for this viscidly embarrassing nonsense. John was departing for a trip to Zimbabwe in a couple of hours and my focus needed to be on his preparation – not clean-up!
In tears, I pulled out the mop.
I began to fill the bucket with water and soap all the while feeling a sticky sensory overload. My legs, socks, shoes, shorts, and shirt dripped with the stuff.
John came into the room.
He turned on the light. He had wondered what had happened to me and why I hadn’t returned from the laundry room in seconds – like I had planned.
“What are you doing, Heather?” he asked. “Why is the light off?”
I explained what happened through my weeping and he responded with a command, “Go inside. I’ll clean this up.”
I started to argue and point out that he needed to prepare for his trip. John countered that I needed to make breakfast for our family. I conceded with a whimper. I returned to the kitchen with the box of long-life milk and set it on the counter. I cleaned myself and then started my breakfast work.
When John finished cleaning the floor, the ceiling, the outside of the refrigerator and the washing machine and the many other things we house in our laundry room, he came into the kitchen and asked me to look at him.
These were his words:
“Heather, you are worthy. You are worthy of asking for help.”
And then I bawled.
Of course, I could have asked John to go into the laundry room and retrieve the milk. However, I knew he was busy with his preparatory work for his Zimbabwe trip. He would depart in a couple of hours. I hadn’t wanted to disturb him with such a trivial request – and an errand that I could easily do all by myself. Unfortunately, instead of being a quick, in-and-out retrieval task, my decision not to ask for assistance turned into a huge, messy, stick-it-in-your-face, clean-up chore. Now you may be asking, what about your kids? Where were Micah, Jake and Caleb? Why couldn’t they have helped? Like I shared, it was an early Saturday morning. None of our boys had risen from their beds yet – only John and I were up at this point of the day. I chose to get the milk and the rest was history….
As I look back on this moment, I count myself blessed to have a husband like John who desires that I not only seek his help and support, but who wants me to know that I am worthy of consideration and need. He encourages me to ask him for help at any time and in any way. It’s actually been part of our 20-year marriage deal. John makes it a point to inquire, “How can I help you?” John has modeled this behavior to our three sons consistently over the years. As a result, Micah, Jake and Caleb are terrific helpers.
I confess, though, it’s difficult for me to ask for help at times. This is especially the case when I see how much work is on my husband’s plate. My goal is to take things off him – rather than add to his to-do list. Thus, it can be a big stretch for me to call for assistance.
What’s my problem?
Why don’t I feel worthy?
What does it mean to have worth?
According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, worth is defined as something of high value or merit. Worth is the level at which something or something deserves to be valued or rated.
Honestly, I don’t put myself in such a place. For the majority of my life, I’ve always considered others to be of greater worth and attention. I place more stock on serving and caring for others than I do on people serving and caring for me. The problem with this mindset, however, is that I deny others the pleasure and privilege of helping me. In addition, I may be giving others the impression that I’m not in need of their attention or care.
If I act like I have no need of others, and I’m solely relying upon myself to do this-that-or-the-other thing, such behavior classifies me as self-sufficient – in no need of others and in no need of Christ. This isn’t how my marriage and family life is supposed to work. This isn’t how my relationship with Christ works, either.
In fact, especially during this time of the year when we reflect upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Jesus Himself reminds me that He bore my self-sufficiency as he was raised upon the cross and died with my sin in mind. How incredulous!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
New International Version, Romans 5: 6-8
My worth is found in Christ.
So how do I begin to embrace my worth?
Well, the very day that the root beer incident occurred, I read these words in my study of 2 Thessalonians:
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
New International Version, 2 Thessalonians 1:11 – 12
It is in these words that I see that my God makes me worthy. My worthiness is not something I can achieve or accomplish on my own merit. I can’t earn it. I can’t obtain it. I certainly don’t deserve it. Yet, by identifying and treasuring the infinite worth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has done for me and in me, I receive and trust this amazing declaration of worth. This is not self-worth. This value comes from Christ alone.
So how does this all relate to my husband declaring me worthy and wanting me to seek him out for help when I need it? And why am I even writing about all of this?
Well, like I shared, asking for help is difficult for me. Yet, John has called me out. He sees my worth and wants me to acknowledge it, too. I recognize that this behavior is motivated by self-sufficiency or me feeling like I’m not worth asking someone for assistance. That’s faulty thinking and dishonoring of my husband, dishonoring of me, and dishonoring of my God. Instead, I desire that my action, thoughts, and behaviors are prompted by my love of Christ and my faith in Him. And so, even something like asking my husband to help me retrieve a box of long-life milk counts towards that aim. I’m honoring my husband’s desire to serve me and I’m glorifying my God and love for my Savior by doing so, too. Therefore, I receive my husband’s exhortation and receive the words of 2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12. I’ll make it a point to ask for help more often. I’m writing about this to increase my level of accountability.
This is my commitment to my Savior as I celebrate Him this Resurrection Sunday. My worth revelation resulted from two, explosive cans of root beer and my husband’s declaration.
I will not forget this lesson.
What about you, my friend? Do you find it difficult to ask for help as well? Let’s make a commitment to increase our requests for help when we need it – or may be even if we think we don’t. We are worthy of asking of assistance and even more so, we’re worthy because of Jesus.