Recently I went with my kids to convention. I’m sure convention has a more formal title, like Christian Student Convention, or something like that, but in our small circle when you say convention, everyone knows what that means.
I love convention. Like, weirdly. Its one of my favourite events of the whole year. Most students and teachers don’t because its a lot of work, but I love it and always have. In the past 24 years, I’ve only missed a few.
When we moved to this new town/church/school, I thought there was no way I would be involved. Surely they were too big and organized and professional to need my help. But the music teacher asked me for help! I was going to convention after all! I was so excited.
Till I wasn’t.
It suddenly occurred to me in the two weeks leading up to it, that this was one of the first events where I would see “everyone” and not be from my old church. I started getting a knot in my stomach. Started worrying about what people would say to me. Started wondering what I would feel like. I ended up being very anxious about attending the event that I generally love.
So, I did something revolutionary for me.
I told some people about it.
And not just a few close friends, I told some people that I’ve only known a short time, but people that were going. And could help. That could stick with me.
This might seem like a logical conclusion to some of you, but some of the people that know me well may have just gasped. Its hard for me to admit things like that to people, and harder still to ask for help. But hey, these last few months have been a little crazy, why not throw this in the mix as well. One of my friends that was going even told me she would be my “emotional plexiglass”. I love that.
So off to convention I went, armed with people who knew it was going to be difficult and would help. I was trying this out and really felt I would be fine. It was weird at first, but people were great and things were going well.
Then I found out something. Things were about to get much worse. I literally thought I might throw up. I went and told my pastor’s wife. Then at lunch, in the middle of hundreds of people, I went and sat down beside my Pastor, told him about it, and started crying right there. Right in the gym, balancing a plate on my lap. I told him I didn’t think I could do it. And then he said something to me that just confirmed everything the Lord had been showing me in the past few weeks.
“You don’t have to do this alone.”
He repeated that phrase several times while telling me that I was part of them now and they as a group would help me get through this.
You know, I think it was the perfect thing to say. There was no denying the fact that this was going to be hard. There was no false bravado of “You can do it!”. No glossing over feelings or situations. No platitudes. Just, you don’t have to do this alone.
How many times in my life has my refusal to ask for help ended up in me having to do it alone? Too many. And my life in the past few months has had things too hard and too heavy for me to do alone. And I’m learning that I don’t have to. God has sent people to help carry the load. Just as there were times that I was willing to help carry other’s burdens, I need to acknowledge that there are times when I need help with mine.
Let me remind you today, you don’t have to do this alone.
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