I Can Do It Myself—But Should I?

The ladies at Manna House had cooked and boxed the meals already. They were ready to be delivered. I had a shopping cart of 50 of them to load into the back of my car Wednesday afternoon. It rarely takes long. I can do it alone if no one is around to help.

I used to think being self-sufficient was the nice thing. Do it myself. Don’t let anyone help. It might inconvenience them.

But if someone asks if I need help, I’ve discovered a better answer than my typical “No thanks—I can do it myself.”

When three young volunteers asked if they could help me Wednesday, I gave the better answer.

I’m learning now to say, “Yes, thank you! I’d appreciate your help.

It seems the greater gift. Because it’s not only about me.

I asked the three men where they were from. One was from Oregon. Another from Arizona. And the third from Mexico.

And yet they all ended up as friends and co-workers in Alabama, volunteering at Manna House, loading the car of a native Alabamian so I could carry the food to others.

I could have loaded my car just fine without their help.

But I would have missed out on their joy of friendship. And they would have missed out on the blessing of helping another.

Saying “Yes, I’d love your help” was a gift all the way around. I’m glad I’m learning to unwrap it.

* * *

Do you overvalue self-sufficiency too? How do you break yourself of the “I can do it myself” habit? Please share in the comments.

20 thoughts on “I Can Do It Myself—But Should I?

  1. Lesley

    I agree, it’s far too easy to fall into independence and self-sufficiency but often it’s better to let others help. It reminds me of how God could do whatever he wanted without us but he chooses to involve us and let us help in his work.

  2. Bethany Boring

    I love this! Ah – speaking to me big time as I’m finishing-up my first big blog series that forced me to invite others into the project – I COULDN’T do it myself! Yes! Needed to read this today!

  3. Cheryl Gerou

    Visiting from Coffee for your Heart. It is hard to accept help, yet I have found, too, there is great benefits to doing so. Benefits like encouragement given, the fun of accomplishing something together, and growing a friendship. Thanks for this reminder, I am often the one choosing the path of independence.

  4. bill (cycleguy)

    When we were offered the use of Abram Farm Event Venue for free we gave them a donation anyway. They were surprised and overwhelmed but made us promise to never again do that. We were stealing their blessing! I do think we rob people of joy when we don’t allow them to help or (in Suzie’s case) give a donation for a gift. So she made us promise to use the venue for whenever we need it without cost.

  5. Michele Morin

    I’m learning the same life skill, and it’s about time. For Easter dinner, I had all kinds of help in the kitchen for clean up, and we had a great visit in the process. Why am I so stubborn?

  6. Theresa Boedeker

    Lisa, you are so right. Letting others help us is so valuable to them and our self. Your simple story speaks volumes. I remember my dad saying, “We can’t all be givers, we also need to be receivers.” My independent streak needs to remember this more. Blessings.

  7. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Having been brought up on the sanctity of self-sufficiency, I had to learn that I bless others when I let them offer a helping hand. We ALL like to feel like we are contributing, so who am I to hog all the fun?? Great reminder!
    Bev xx


    As my wife and I get older, we are reminded to always say, “Yes, please, and Thank you,” when our children ask to do something for us. If we refuse, they may not keep asking us in the future. We have a generation of elderly persons in our church, who were taught to not depend on any one else. When our help is rejected, their responses feel rude and unappreciated.

  9. Barbara Harper

    This is a hard one. I do accept help and even ask for it at times. But my usual attitude is not to “bother” people if I can do it myself or to enjoy the time alone. I keep being reminded that life is not just about getting things done – it’s about being available to people. And sometimes that means accepting help and engaging with another even when I could go it alone.

  10. Patti Gardner

    I really like your blog. I’m glad I discovered it through visiting a link party.

    I think that sometimes pride is what keeps us from asking for or accepting help. We want to look like real go-getters who can do it all. Or maybe we want the applause that comes from getting a job done. Depending on others takes away our thunder, so we just do things ourselves to keep that from happening.

  11. June

    Great post, Lisa. I’m finding that some of these, seemingly insignificant thought processes, many of which were ingrained in us as children, are sometimes keys to unlocking larger issues that the Lord may be “helping” me work on 🙂 As you say, it’s not only about me. I find that often God is often working on growing me and blessing others at the same time. He’s awesome like that 🙂 Have a blessed week – being a Grandma sure looks good on you!

  12. Kelly Baker

    God helped me overcome self-sufficiency during each of my four rough pregnancies. For most of them I was on bed rest and severely sick. I had to rely on help from others and it was a humbling experience. But I look back on it as God growing me.

  13. ~ linda

    Ouch! Yes, I think I can do far too much by myself! At least I once always did! Now, I am learning to ask, accept, and enjoy other’s hands in the work I once thought only I could or should do. Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa.

  14. Joy

    Hi Lisa! I had to let go of “going it alone” when I became a caregiver of my great aunt. She lived with our family for 9 years. The love and support from our friends and neighbors were invaluable. Thank you for this needful reminder!

  15. BettieG

    Dear Lisa,
    Oh yes, I am having to learn this one big-time, especially since my word for the year is “sufficient!” But as in, I am NOT sufficient, and only HE is sufficient. So often now I am finding that I must allow others to do the things that I was able to do so easily in the past. It can still be a struggle for me to let go, but you are so right, there is such a blessing that happens in the sharing together! Thank you for this beautiful post!

  16. Jean Wise

    Oh yes, I put too much weight on doing all myself and am embarrassed to ask for help. Someone will think I am weak – and then they may not accept me. Must keep the mask up to protect my vulnerability and my humanity. Great post. Made me stop and think tonight.

  17. Lauren Sparks

    I love this!!!! I think we have become so accustomed to not wanting to “inconvenience” others that we are hard pressed now to find any help when we really need it. At least that’s been my experience. Thanks for this post. Glad I found you on the Grace Moments link up. laurensparks.net

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