One of my favorite things about seminary is that it has forced me to ask for help. I still struggle in this area when it comes to my health, but I have made huge improvements thanks to my classmates. In college (undergrad and grad school) I used to dread group projects. I'm sure some of you have awful group project stories you can tell. You're asked to put your trust and your grade in the hands of people you barely know. For me, it most always ended with me up all hours of the night working alone or maybe with one other person trying to pull together a respectable presentation. I'm probably going to have nightmares about this tonight. However, life in seminary has been wonderfully different. I think it's because we're actively trying to put aside our selfishness.
I know I struggled with undiagnosed selfishness for years. It wasn't until my late twenties that I realized how much I put my needs ahead of others and how that could (and maybe had) destroy some relationships. My friends have taught me about the value of caring for one another, how living life in community can enrich your experiences and how learning to trust people can be healing. It's nice feeling like I'm part of something, like there are people who care about me for no reason other than the fact that they like who I am as person. They don't want anything from me except friendship; this is such a rare and amazing treat. Recently, I've had to miss classes and my classmates have stepped right up and helped me keep up with my work. When I have panic attacks before speaking in class, they are encouraging and to quote one of my professors "a non-anxious presence." Who would have thought that the girl who liked to work alone and dreaded group projects would one day look forward to working with others?
I'm trying to apply this lesson to other aspects of my life. I think it's easy for me to push people away and feel as if it would better for me to try to figure out life on my own. I think I'm comfortable not trusting people and assuming that life would be easier if I just didn't ask anyone for help. What I've learned is that this is a big fat lie. A few weeks ago I was teaching and mentioned how Satan's lies are so much easier to believe than the Truth of the Gospel. I feel so strongly about this. Everyday we hear Satan's lies, either from others or from ourselves. For me, it's the lie of loneliness and that people can never be trusted ever. Wow, even typing that I realize how crazy it sounds. This is why it's important for us to build each other up and shout the truth to your friends and family as loudly as you can, through both actions and words. You must be the truth for those drowning in lies. I know I'm trying very hard to fill this roll. How about you?