In my family of origin, we were Do-It-Yourself-ers before D.I.Y. was cool. Long before HGTV inspired envy and Pinterest boards overwhelmed us with promises of what could be, my tribe was made up of people who promoted in-home haircuts and changing their own motor oil. We were aghast at the thought of paying someone else to do something we could easily do ourselves, like decorating a birthday cake or painting our toenails or ripping off the roof and building an additional story on to our house (never mind the fact that the builders were mostly made up of college professors, salesmen, and a geologist).
While I still enjoy making things from scratch, I can also see the beauty in not doing everything myself, even if it goes against my nature to allow it.
Adding a child to your home is a perfect example of a time when you must admit that you need help. Though my initial reaction might be to turn away offers of meals and help with the older siblings, DIY parenting is a big mistake.
Pretending you don’t need the help of others and going on as usual will result in a 24/7 eye twitch—and that’s the best case scenario. Who are we kidding? When friends offer help, especially the “no-strings-attached, exactly-what-you-need” kind of help it should be a no-brainer.
But this isn’t just about the receiver of the help. It’s also about the ones who get to give it. When we deny others the chance to bless us with help and casseroles, we are preventing them from experiencing the joys of servanthood. We are stopping them from doing what they were made to do—acting like Christ, the ultimate servant.
Besides the satisfaction of helping others, the giver also gets to be a part of something outside of himself. When we help people in times of sorrow, we share in their mourning and bring a bit of it inside ourselves so we can practice empathy. When we help people in times of joy, we get to rejoice, too, as we walk back to our car thinking of the meal we just dropped off and the newborn baby we just held. (Ah, that new baby smell!)
If there is one thing I’ve learned about including others in our dreams and failures, it’s that the story is so much sweeter with a larger cast of characters. When we allow people to walk the journey with us, it makes the journey better, bearable.
There may be a one letter difference between “me” and “we” but that one letter can make a life-changing difference. Sometimes it’s just better to Do It Together.