I snuck into my parents’ bathroom and held my mom’s beautiful bottle of perfume. Holding the bottle close to my face, I could smell the lovely scent.
I had a great idea. I’d spray some perfume on myself. I wanted to be like a grown-up, like my mom. The problem was:
Little five-year-old fingers aren’t so strong.
Holding the bottle in my left hand, I put my right pointer finger on the nozzle. I tried with all my little finger’s might to press the spray pump. My poor little finger didn’t have enough strength. I tried again, this time with both pointer fingers. Still no luck.
“The thumbs are stronger. I’ll try my thumbs,” I thought to myself. Hands awkwardly positioned, I managed to muster up enough strength to push the spray pump with both thumbs. The bottle released its lovely perfume…
Straight into my eyes.
It burned so bad. I couldn’t see. “Mom, help me!” I cried out. She quickly saved the day, cleaning my perfumed face and resting a wet washcloth over my eyes. I laid on the couch for the rest of the evening with the wet cloth on my face.
How young does it start—the desire to do things on our own even when we shouldn’t? We don’t like to ask for help. I’m sure my mom would’ve let me have a little bit of her perfume, but I was embarrassed to ask for what I wanted and to admit I needed help to get it.
Too often we don’t understand our limitations; we struggle to be self-aware enough to know we can’t do it all. We aren’t superman or superwoman. Plus, we are embarrassed to ask for help because it means we must admit our weakness. We’d prefer to hide at least some of our weaknesses from the world, even from those closest to us. We don’t want to be rejected. So, we rationalize why we should do things on our own and why others won’t be able to help us.
In so doing, we attempt to play God. We succeed at being strong enough sometimes, fooling ourselves into continuing this charade. Other times, we get “sprayed in the face with perfume.” One of the many wonderful things about the gospel is that it sets us free to admit that we aren’t strong enough, smart enough, in control enough, perfect enough. However, there is Someone who is all of these things and much more. He is the One we can trust with our lives. We can ask Him for help. Then, when He nudges us to find help from someone else—a friend, coworker, or family member—we won’t be afraid to do it. We won’t have anything to prove. We can ask for help because we already know who we are, people full of limitations who belong to Jesus.
In this busy holiday season, let’s get the help we need. By owning our limits, we will see God work in and through our weaknesses and through the help of others. Let’s accept it. Ask for it. Embrace it.