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the hardest of shells

Apparently on Thursday last week at the JFK airport there was a turtle invasion.  (For the full report, read the article.)  According to the news it took nearly 45 minutes for the Port Authority to clear the runway and tarmac of 75 or so turtles and caused some major flight delays.

Coincidentally on the same day I also saved a turtle…

As I drove to work (running late as usual) I saw a small turtle on the double yellow lines.  I couldn’t help but think he was going to get splattered there on that old, two-lane country road so I turned around and headed back to move him off the street.

When I picked him up his legs and head immediately retracted into his shell and he made a hissing noise as if to say “Hey, stop messing with me lady, I’m just fine!”

I moved him a few feet of the roadside anyway and that little turtle lived to see another day.

This got me thinking though about how I react when people try to help me.  I usually retract into my shell and act like I’m fine too.  I especially do this when it is something that involves feelings or I think I should know what I’m doing. 

I have always been extremely independent and it is hard for me to ask for or accept help.  Over the years I’m sure my mother – much to her dismay – is the lucky individual who has witnessed most of my stubborn refusals for assistance.  I admit it is not my best quality.  I’m protective, defensive and stubborn – my shell is extremely hard.  I assume I do this for a variety of reasons.  Allowing people to see how you truly feel about something is a scary move.  To put your heart on the line and risk getting hurt is a difficult challenge to overcome.  Having the need to prove I can do things on my own is most likely my biggest issue.  I do not like for anyone to think I can’t do something on my own or I don’t know the resolution to a problem.  I would rather do things the hard way and pretend I have everything under control than to reveal that I’m in a quandary.

The irony is that I get frustrated with people who don’t accept my help.  I love to assist people with things whether its something with a computer or pet-sitting while a friend is out of town.  I enjoy offering help and having my friends or coworkers take me up on it.  It gives me the feeling that I have contributed to someone’s life or I have made their life a little easier in some small way.

I assume this is much the same way that God feels about us as well.  He wants to help, He wants to guide us and contribute to our lives.  But many of us hide behind our shells as if to say, “No thanks, I’m doing just fine on my own.”  I know I do this entirely too much.  However, this is a completely wrong attitude to have about God’s help.  As found in the scripture below I should rejoice in His assistance and gladly praise Him for His willingness to guide and protect me.  I need to learn to be more open to receive assistance from those around me as well.  Independence is great quality to have but when it borders on prideful sin then it is time for me to rethink how I’m living my life and realize that my life should be dependent completely upon the Lord and who He wants me to be. 

I’m hoping as I approach turning 30 I can learn to be less like the turtle, soften my shell and lean on my friends, family and God a little more.  This is my prayer for this new year of my life.

Jehovah is my strength and my shield; My heart hath trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him.  ~ Psalm 28:7

One thought on “the hardest of shells

  1. Wow! You continue to amaze me every day of my life. I am so thankful that your relationship with God is growing and you are finding that He will provide, protect, and guide you in all things. It may not be an easy path but with pain and trials we are refined to the person God would have us be. Even though I think that you are perfect, you do struggle sometimes with being too independent and way too stubborn for your own good. You could allow people to help you sometime without making you feel any less capable. There is nothing wrong in needing help sometime. I have learned this just in the last five years and can say that it has changed my life completely for the better. Yes I have had hurts and disappointments and sometimes have not handled it very well but I am still going to open my heart to any opportunity that God leads me too. I can promise you that any hurts and disappointments that may come from this will be small compared to never opening up your heart and life to the ones you love and care for. As your birthday draws near, I feel so blessed that God brought you into my life and entrusted and equipped me to raise you into the wonderful young woman that you are. I know that pride is a sin but I am very proud of you. I appreciate how much you love me and how you always make sure that I am happy and taken care of. Sometimes letting it take up too much of your life. I can see inside that shell and I know that there is a very caring and generous woman in there. Come out and see what God will bring your way! I love you very much.

    Love, Mom

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