Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I Need You"

Are you fiercely independent? Do you rely on your own abilities in almost all circumstances, even when they aren't enough? Do you find it a weakness to seek the help of others? Does foolish pride get in the way of your asking for assistance when you need it? Boy, I certainly could answer affirmatively to most of these questions almost unequivocally in my recent past. Thankfully, God has been changing my heart with respect to seeking help in my weaknesses.

Pastor Mark did a great job again this morning in continuing his series on "The World's Most Powerful Phrases" with his message titled "I Need You". He reminded us that God has created all of us with weaknesses that we cannot fully overcome by ourselves. Think this was by chance? Not a chance! God is God, He created everything and could have made us perfect if He so chose, but He didn't. Why is that?

God wants us to rely on Him in our weaknesses, for one. Pastor Mark pointed out Psalm 121:1 - 2, which states, "I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Who better to come to our aid than the Maker of heaven and earth. I can't think of any better ally in my times of need. What does that help look like? Well, Pastor Mark said that God's help almost always comes in the form of another person. Makes sense as I can't think of recent times, other than in the Old Testament, where God has directly intervened in our lives, other than perhaps the 6 Day War the Israeli's had back in the 60's.

Anyway, this makes total sense to me in that I know with certainty this has been my experience in my life. I have many personal testimonies, the greatest of which is the salvation of my marriage, where God has placed people or groups of people in my life, or my family's, that have made ALL the difference in times of difficulty. The key? Letting those closest to you know that you are experiencing difficulty or need help and let them help as they will be inclined to do so. Being transparent, setting aside your foolish pride, and being authentic are the keys to allow God to work through others to help you.

Pastor Mark's two main points are to: 1. Identify where you are strong (God gifts everyone with some ability or strength) and... SERVE in that capacity and, 2. Identify where you are weak and... ASK. It's hard to humble one's self, take a hard, realistic look at yourselve, identify your weaknesses, and then ASK for help. Kind of a counter-cultural thought in this self-help, self-sufficiency, self-seeking day and age where everyone turns inward and inside.

So, you may be saying to yourself again, well Rick, what the heck does this have to do with running and training for a marathon? Well... I'm glad that you asked! Even if you didn't I'm going to give you my answer anyway cause, heck, it's MY blog! My answer is: I created this blog because to train, prepare for, and run this marathon is daunting and I need you! I need you to post comments, I need you to tell me I am not nutz (even if you want to lie to me in doing so), I need you to support and encourage me. Just thinking about running the marathon makes my stomach flip. All kinds of questions of physical and mental self-doubt surface. I'm just being transparent here. It kinda scares the daylights out of me whether or not I will be tough enough to finish this marathon. So, why do it? To that I say please read my Preface and Purpose for that answer.

So, there you have it, I need you! I'm not too proud to say so and know from experience that when I do ask for help, God will put people in my life that will see me through. I will be relying on the strength of the Lord and my family and friends who will be encouraging me along the way, which I know you will do because... I have asked you to.

Thanks for the great message, Pastor Mark. I'm learning.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:10 - 11.

Jennifer, Marion, Tim, Sara, Zoomy, Mike, and anyone else ramping up for a marathon this year, especially a first... you're gonna ROCK your races! You're all training hard and I KNOW you will ALL succeed!

8 comments:

Sara said...

You are NOT nuts.

Well, maybe you are. But in that case, so am I! Crazy!! It's much more fun than being sane and normal (i.e. boring!).

You are doing so awesome in your training. I find it so encouraging to read your blog and Marion's blog and Zoomy's blog. You all help me so much in my training, just keeping at it every day. I love that we're all in this together. We're not running the same races and may never even meet, but we're all bonded together through this passion...this insane idea to run a marathon!!!

Yep, you're right, we're ALL going to rock them!

Jennifer said...

thanks Rick! you always give me something to think about and I'm so encouraged by your insight.

I'm glad you pointed me to your original blog post...it explained who Cassie was and I got to see your beautiful family!

You CAN SO TOTALLY do this marathon! are you kidding me!? You are gonna do better than you think. We'll all be here cheering you on. I won't forget the date, that's my Cooper's 9th birthday.

Mar said...

Rick,

What a fantastic post! Really opened my eyes to some of my own flaws where I need to step back and just ask for help. I tend to be a real hard faced git most of the time and don't ask because I'm afraid it'll show that weakness. I was raised to be a strong girl, depend on no one. I think sometimes that causes strife in my marriage because my husband is the type of man who WANTS to do things for me, needs to feel that he is needed. He came back from his deployment to Iraq last June and his one observation was.."See, you don't need me. You did just fine by yourself." I felt a sense of pride when he said that to me but I'd never stopped to think how that made him feel. He was wrong, I did need him through that time. I just didn't tell HIM that. I suppose if I had told him that it would have felt like it was taking away from my accomplishment. Hmm, what a selfish feeling that is. I'll have to talk to him about that. But, I digress..back to running!

I'll be the most posting, supportive, encouraging online friend ya have. You're going to do this and best of all, you're going to do it well!

Rick said...

Thanks for lyin' to me, Sara. I appreciate it. I mean, what kind of a person sets their sights on running 26.2 miles? That is NOT normal!

Jennifer, it's very encouraging for me to hear that someone is able to take something away from my blog and be encouraged themselves. The famous Canadian philosopher, Red Green, says "We're all in this together." (that's a joke, he's a Canadian comedian you'll find on the C.B.C.) Thanks for the encouragement on the marathon goal Jennifer, I do so appreciate it! I do hope that I do better than I think I will... which is just finishing at this point!

Independence and self-reliance is good, Marion, just not in all circumstances. It's a trait in you I picked up and respected right away. And, you're absolutely right, husbands do want to do for their wives and feel needed. I think the majority of them want to be affirmed as well. Heck, most of us are just big kids and kids need all kinds of affirming. Don't let selfish pride not allow you to affirm Todd and your need for him. ;-)
You're an awesome woman, mom, and wife, Mar.

Thanks for your encouragement as well, Mar. I'll be counting on you, my friend. :-)

Jim Lange said...

Great post Rick!

We are very blessed to be at a place like CrossRoads. God is on the move!

Thanks for allowing Him to work through you!

You Da Man!

Rick said...

Thanks for the kind comment, Jim. As you know, we just try not to get in His way. ;-)

Your friendship is a tremendous blessing, Jim! Love you man!

Anonymous said...

Rick, it is awesome when you get to the point where you can put your pride aside and be transparent with someone and ask them for help or advice and not feel ashamed or weak. To let God work through that person and show His love for us. I have truly seen and felt Gods love through you. Thanks for being there.

Your doing a great job with your training. It blows my mind to hear the kind of miles that you put on in week. I have no doubts that you will finish the race.

Love ya man
Jeremy

Rick said...

Thanks, Jeremy! I treasure your friendship as well.