When you meet me, something you’ll pick up on very quickly is that I am independent, and I can be pretty stubborn. I really struggle when others (especially guys) serve me, whether it’s holding the door open or carrying something. I usually think, “I can do it myself. I don’t want you to do it for me.” More often than not, it doesn’t even occur to me to ask for help.
God knows this. And, very sneakily, He used it against me. Felix (read his latest blog here) and I recently had to go to town to attend Sunday Mass. At Covecrest, we have several vehicles for missionaries to use – an SUV, a 12-passenger van, and a 15-passenger van. I had never driven the 12 or 15-passenger vans because they’re huge, and the roads in north Georgia are very narrow and curvy. That day, another missionary had taken the SUV to Atlanta to pick someone up from the airport, so a huge van was our only option for transportation. Felix doesn’t drive because of a medical condition, so I had to drive.
I felt in over my head and completely intimidated by this very large van. I climbed into the driver seat as gracefully as I could while wearing a skirt, took a deep breath, and turned the key. The van roared to life, and I put it into reverse. We backed up about two feet, and then stopped. I looked at Felix, and he looked at me. “Why aren’t we moving?!” I asked, panicked.
Double great. – The first time I drive the van, I break it.
I checked the parking break—it wasn’t on. I checked to make sure the van wasn’t somehow in neutral—it was definitely in reverse. “What have I done wrong?” I asked myself.
Next thing I know, some guy sidled up to my window. (He was at Covecrest as a chaperone for one of the youth groups that was there on retreat.) “You’re stuck in the mud,” he told me.
“No,” I said. “I just don’t know how to drive this van.”
“Your back tires are definitely stuck in the mud. I’ll get my truck and pull you out.”
Triple great. – Not only did I fail to drive a behemoth van by getting it stuck in the mud; I had to accept help out of the mud.
God is sneaky. He put me in a situation that forced me to face things I usually avoid, because facing them reinforced something God has been teaching me for months: I am worth it. I am worth serving. My brother missionaries often hold the door open for me or help me carry something, even when it’s not heavy or burdensome. Even guys I don’t know (but who are still my brothers in Christ) help me when I’m stuck in the mud.
Sometimes, I get really annoyed with their constant service, because having grown up in a post-feminist world, I feel like what they’re saying is “You can’t do this, so I have to do it for you.” Truly, though, I know their actions say, “You deserve this. You deserve to know what it means to be treated like the beautiful, beloved daughter of God that you are.” Through them, God continues to gently remind me that life doesn’t have to be so hard. He’s not a big, scary dictator who demands that I serve Him. Rather, He is the lover who came to serve me.
Christ tells us that He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). He came to earth to save me from the depths of sin, despair, and brokenness. He came to make me whole. He came to show me that a true man serves His beloved. He dies for her. He rises for her.
Deep within me, though, I feel a nagging question: if I don’t willingly let the men in my life serve me, how will I ever let Christ serve me?