Too Proud to be Served?

[ 9 ] Comments

by MSKeller

We had a flood.  It was a little flood really, at least I thought it was.  It was just the water dispenser on the front door of our fairly new refrigerator.  It evidently got stuck, shorted out and continued to run as we were at our three-hour church block.

End result, we had to leave for a graduation in Utah the next day, and the clean-up professionals went to work in our absence. I expected a week of inconvenience and then a just-over-the-deductible bill.  Then my son sent me a text photo of my kitchen. . . gutted from wall to wall, cupboards, insulation, major appliances, everything. This was in May.  It is now October, new carpet is being laid on Monday and I still haven’t unpacked the pantry.

I’ve had difficulties before, car accidents; divorce; surgeries and babies; and each time I accepted the bare minimum of assistance when thrust upon me and never ever ask for it.  I’m perfectly capable!  Yet am I?

Who do I think I am?
How can I serve?
What can I do?
Do my little acts
Even matter to you?
Is it humility or pride
When I say, “No thanks, I’m fine.”
With a smile
Hiding all the hurt behind.
Am I just as poor
At receiving your gifts
Feeling unworthy
And refusing you the delight
Of serving? ~ MSK

I’m discovering that looking into a mirror can be both revealing and unsettling.  The blogosphere nudges at that; I find a clear window to other minds, personally unique thoughts and experiences.  Watching the candor of others offers courage for me to discover a way to face up squarely with some of my own worst tendencies.  I’ve even been gifted with a platform with which to express, share and discuss them with others.

I often long to ‘make a difference’ and yet there is no way I’d allow someone else to make a difference in my world.  I even push away my husband, my mother, and friends when they offer.  “I’m fine.  I can do this.“

 Anne Morrow Lindberg said,  “My Life Cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.”

Am I being prideful in not allowing others to respond to me?

Yet I don’t change.  I know intellectually that I need to be served.  I know that I can’t possibly do all that I have on my plate by myself, and yet I’m afraid to ask.  I’m afraid of being told no.  I’m afraid of letting someone be my benefactor.  I’m afraid of feeling obligated.  I’m afraid of not being thought of as capable and strong.  I’m afraid of not being enough.

Maybe afraid isn’t the right word.  Perhaps I just don’t want to be disappointed.  They say that if you want something done right, do it yourself, if you just want it done, ask someone else.  That is prideful.  Thinking that I’m the only one who can ‘do it right’ or at least my idea of right.

What if I go to all the mental effort and humiliation (humble-I-zation)  and ask for something, and am told ‘Nah, you can’t do that’.  I’m left bereft, deflated and back where I began.  I know, it’s happened, and I detest that feeling even more than falling off a roller-coaster hill.  Too big of a price to pay.

I remember when I was single and in an accident and simply could NOT take care of my family.  They brought in meals for a couple of weeks (maybe more, I was down for six weeks, I don’t remember, I was on drugs!)  I was embarrassed every time, and never got used to it.  Yet my family ate more than cereal and ramen.   The women most certainly felt good about their efforts. . . as they ought to, but I hated it.  I love them, dearly, but I hated being a project.

When I was well again, I seriously thought about finding out every woman who served me, so I could return the favor (and thus relieve my obligation), but realized it would be an impossible task.  I still feel obligated, and so when someone is ill, I sign up, even if I am incredibly busy and can’t imagine how I’ll come through.

Usually when I write posts, I give suggestions.  I am the teacher.  I offer tools and ideas and ways to move forward.  It is who I am as a life and relationship coach, yet this time, I have no answers.  I only have a still-prideful acknowledgement that I realize I need to repent, but have no ability (or commitment?) to do so. . . yet.

Perhaps knowing is a first step.

  • Am I alone? Do you have answers for me?
  • How does pride snake into your life?

About MSKeller

Marsha Steed Keller (Th'Muse) "When I get a little money, I buy books, if there is any left, I buy food and clothes." --Desiderius Erasmus. This defines a part of Marsha's psychology and intent fairly well. When she was a child she says that people asked what super-power she would desire. She replied, "To know what is true, always." It hasn't changed much since then. Marsha cares more about intent than result; more about understanding than agreement and more about good questions than finding all the answers. She defines her best blessings as people (Family and Friends), ideas and beauty. She is highly visual, teaches voice and piano and enjoys her Life/Relationship coaching immensely. She has a BA in Psychology and an AA in Ballroom Dance. Life is an adventure to be lived in the moment and shared with the world. She considers being asked to write with this amazing group a high honor.

9 Responses to Too Proud to be Served?

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ve never looked at it as being prideful in having a hard time accepting service, but that I am quite possibly a control freak. I just don’t like it when things are out of my control.

    • MSKeller says:

      I suspect that might be a part of it as well Lisa, though moreso I think it is simply that I don’t want to deal with the frustration and disappointment of being turned down when I humble myself enough to even ask. So, I’m prideful even in considering being humble. Dichotomy?

  2. bonnievision says:

    I was completely convicted when I read your sentence, “I often long to ‘make a difference’ and yet there is no way I’d allow someone else to make a difference in my world.” I think you hit this right on the head as a pride issue and I’m determined to be more vulnerable and less self-sufficient in filling all my own needs. Thankfully, life has helped me along with that and demonstrated my inadequacies to me regularly. I’m getting better at letting others make up the difference.

  3. One of the first things that comes to my mind? I can picture the Saviour sitting with HIS 12 disciples and partaking in the joy of just being, when all of a sudden HE decides to start washing the feet of those around him. Kind of makes me feel small yet at the same time, I make a difference. In that situation I have heard it said, “How dare you take away HIS blessing of service”. And in that same thought and tone, are we not in the service of our Lord when we are in the service of others? So by taking away the opportunity of others to serve by “having” to repay them or as you put it “Return the favor”, makes it sound like you are keeping score, so to speak. One ant cannot make a colony all by oneself. But MANY acting together can. sounds like you have a colony around you, so just let it be and enjoy ALL the many friends that your ward has and let them “Be of service”.

    • MSKeller says:

      Yes, yes, I know, I know. . . I do. . . it is the ‘letting go’ part that stumps me. I’m getting better. . . keep teaching me.

    • Jendoop says:

      What I love about your example Edward is that Christ must have seen his apostle’s dirty feet and instead of chiding them to wash their feet thoroughly before they sat to dine, he washed them himself. What a reminder about how to go about serving.

  4. jendoop says:

    I think this is harder the older I get. As people have disappointed me, or taken advantage of my service, I don’t want to let that happen, so I back away from receiving any service. Part of the gospel is keeping an open heart, which in these challenging times is tough. Not being willing to accept service can be an indicator that my heart is getting hard, or at least developing a thick leathery skin. Even in receiving service I wish to learn to be submissive, accepting whatever the Lord sees fit to bless me with as it comes through the hands of His servants. Even now as I write that it’s hard to think about removing that tough leathery hide and baring my tender pink heart to whatever comes along.

    • MSKeller says:

      I think that has something to do with it Jen. Being disappointed. Easier just not to ask. But I keep thinking that it also has part in ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’. So while I keep kicking, I also keep knowing that I ought to be different. Perhaps one of these days something will shift enough to allow me that sort of humility. Good to know I’m not alone.

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