Let’s be vulnerable today.
I remember I had a conversation with a good friend of mine back in college. He and I had a strange background and relationship, but after a couple of months of chasing each other, unsure if we should pursue a relationship, we settled into a best friend relationship, and he meant a lot to me and really got me more than a lot of people ever had. Anyway, all this to say, I still remember this conversation, even 9 years later. He told me that I needed to accept help, that I needed to open up and let people in.
And he was right.
As you know from previous posts (here and here) I grew up in a single parent household, then a dysfunctional blended family, then back to a single parent household again. During this time, I grew independent and strong, and I grew walls and layers to protect myself. I didn’t need any one, because I could do it all myself. I drifted from my family, and only had a few select friends that I really trusted. (Another good friend of mine from junior high/high school once told me that the song So Beautiful by Dashboard Confessional described me well, so there you are.)
And while, yes, it’s good to be independent, it’s also important to have that flip side of vulnerability too, because that is how relationships grow, and God knows we need those deep, meaningful relationships in our lives.
And so I’ve spent the last few years of my life trying to open up, communicate, ask for help, and be vulnerable. It’s a work in process, and one that I will probably always be working on. And I dare say that it’s something a lot of people struggle with, too.
Asking for help is hard. Letting people in, to know our hurt and our pain, and our weaknesses is hard. It just is.
Faith is a funny thing.
I think I’ve mentioned before, but throughout the last couple of years, I’ve really tried to deepen my faith, my understanding of my religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and my relationship with God and myself. I’ve been reading more non-fiction books, in the self-help and religious genres, and doing a bit more studying on gospel topics, particularly as I prepare lessons for the 16 and 17 year old girls I teach and mentor at my church.
I’m not perfect, I still miss (a lot) of days when it comes to scripture study and prayer.
But what I’ve learned, over and over and over again, is that we need to ask for Divine Help.
One thing I’ve come across again and again in my study of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that He didn’t just suffer and die to save us from our sins, and He didn’t just suffer and die to help us overcome the world, to overcome sorrows and tribulations and heartache. (Although these things are magnificent and awesome and can scarcely be understood by themselves.) But friends, He also suffered and died that we might be enabled with Divine Power to make it through this life, which can be hard, even at the best of times. He can help us be more patient, He can help us find the strength to go on, He can help us daily, hourly, minutely, as we struggle in this thing called life.
One of my favorite quotes that I have found about this doctrine is from a talk by Elder David A. Bednar, and he says, “It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us – that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also needs to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us – not only to direct us but also to empower us.”
If we only “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:5) He will help us every day. I know this. It’s hard to remember, and it’s even harder to put into practice but it is true. He wants nothing more than to help us. He wants us to succeed and to be happy.
Asking is hard.
It means you have to be vulnerable and real and let others know that you need help. It means you have to let others know that you can’t do it all, and for some reason, in this day and age, that can be looked down on.
During this pregnancy I’ve had to ask for a lot of help. And I’ve had to accept and receive help that others have offered me, as well, which is also hard. But through it all, I’ve felt so, so grateful. Grateful for the ability to ask, and grateful for the ability of others to recognize my needs. And even though it has been pulling me outside my comfort zone at times, it has been one hundred percent worth it.
No matter what anyone tells you — we’re not meant to be alone, we’re not meant to do it alone.
And so today, I’m challenging you to ask. Ask God, ask friends, ask your spouse, ask your kids. Ask for help when you need it.
Asking doesn’t mean you are weak. In fact, I submit to you that it means just the opposite. It means that you are strong enough to realize that you can’t do it on your own. It means you are strong enough to share yourself with others.
So just ask, and then receive. Let the Atonement of Jesus Christ change your life. Let your friends and family members serve you.