Doing it MYSELF by Sarah Reinhard

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reinhard_newMy two-year-old has discovered her independence.  She can feed the dog (and join the dog in chowing down), take off her clothes (and put them in the hamper), and even drink from a cup without a lid (bathing herself in the process).

Her new favorite phrase is “I do it MYSELF!”  It punctuates every offer of help from me, pierces the air when her big sister leans her way, and sears my patience at every moment of the day.

I’m an old hand at the “I do it MYSELF” mentality. Given the choice of God’s grace and controlling things myself, I all too often choose the latter.

Doing things myself is easier, for one thing.  I know it gets done the way I want it done, and I know when it gets done.  When I do things myself, I don’t have to worry about someone else: about their feelings, their style, their schedule.

But, watching my two-year-old scream after she dumps the fifth cup of water all over her tenth outfit of the day, I am reminded of the wisdom of the Body of Christ.

We are not alone…for a reason.  We are not left to fend for ourselves…for a reason.

It’s no easier for me to trust God’s wisdom and providence than it is for my two-year-old to understand that she really does need my help with whatever impossible task she’s attempting.  It’s as hard for me to say “Yes” with humility and acceptance as it is for my toddler to stop wiggling and screaming while I wipe up the mess caused by her insistence on doing it herself.

God doesn’t expect me to do it all myself.  He didn’t give me the gift of the sacraments and then head back for the celestial chorus of heaven, ignoring my daily frustrations.  He didn’t put my vocation on me and then walk away, laughing as He left.

There is help all around me, though I may have to ask and I will definitely have to say “Yes.”

In that lesson of humility, there’s a lesson in grace…and enough humor to keep me sane while my two-year-old eats the dog food.

Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard

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4 Comments

  1. Thi sis a HUGE stumbling block for me in my spiritual life. Admitting I can’t do it myself is one of the hardest things to do. My question is: after you’ve admitted you can’t do it alone… then what? Does some new influx of grace come? If so, I haven’t found it yet.

  2. Laura, I don’t know what happens. I usually only see the grace in retrospect…sometimes I think recognizing the grace is a grace in and of itself.

    As for me, I have to pray. A lot. And I have to grip the rosary in my pocket until my knuckles turn white some days. Other days, I seem to be floating and I look back and wonder how.

    Then I realize that maybe, just maybe, THAT was grace. Maybe THAT’s how it feels. Both ways.

    Spending at least an hour every week in Adoration seems to help me in this ongoing journey of letting go…as does keeping a prayer journal that I reference back to during that time (but then, I’m a writer).

    Hope this helps. 🙂 Thanks for leaving me “love” in the combox. It’s the payment, really, for this writing gig! 🙂

  3. Sarah, you are spot on with this reflection. I see myself in the word picture you paint. Humbling and yet somehow it also brings a smile. The latter comes from the realization that I take myself so seriously most of the time but that our Father in heaven sees me for who I really am. I think He is smiling because He knows what awaits us when we come home to Him and that we will have realized by then that we did not do it ourselves at all.

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