As moms, we love to teach our children the gift of giving. Moms are the best at giving, serving their children, family, and community. But … how are you with receiving? How about asking for or accepting help? That’s a level of discomfort that can make even the strongest of us squirm. In today’s episode of the Mom on Purpose Podcast, Lara Johnson takes us deep into the gifts we can receive when we let ourselves be vulnerable.
What you’ll learn in this episode:
- Why being like Jesus Christ means receiving like Jesus Christ
- How asking for and accepting help are real acts of love
- Some resources to help you learn about and work with your vulnerability
- Why our relationships really matter
So many of us think we’re failing or weak if we accept help, but Lara is here to remind us that it’s not selfish or weak … it’s self-love.
Featured in this episode:
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Listen to the Full Episode:
Welcome to the Mom on Purpose Podcast. I’m Lara Johnson, and I’m here to teach you how to get out of your funk, be in a better mood, claim more with your kids. Manage your home better, get your to-do list done and live your life on purpose with my proven method. This is possible for you, and I’ll show you how. You’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together.
Hello, it’s Lara Johnson with Mom on Purpose Podcast. I am making progress. Back after baby. I’m officially in my office but I still don’t have my microphone because in the time that I was on maternity leave, my children have been playing in my office and ran off with my headphones. The reason why I share these things with you is I think sometimes when we hear, you know, people on a podcast or we see them on social media, we see that their life seems very perfect and that they’re very put together, and I do believe that my life is pretty perfect. Like perfect for me. We definitely have our struggles, and I do believe that I’m a pretty put-together person. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not a mom and that my children aren’t children. So, whatever you’re doing, whatever you feel called to do, just know that sometimes it’s a little messy and sometimes your kids will come in and mess with your things.
You can’t find what you need when you need it. Yes. So, my maternity leave officially ends, I guess, today. It’s a Friday that I’m recording this, and I start back with my clients on Monday. And I have to tell you, it feels like Christmas for me. I love doing what I do. I feel so called to do it. And I feel so alive when I’m doing it, even, you know, recording these podcast episodes.
I was in the best mood after the last one that I recorded. And I found that I have so many things that God places in my heart and in my mind, and when I’m not doing what I feel called to do, it’s like those things just churn and churn and churn inside of me without having an avenue to come out. And I love, love being able to take what God has placed in my heart and to share it with the world. Even when it’s uncomfortable for me, or when I’m nervous or insecure about it.
And I find that when I am doing that, that’s where I feel the most alive and why I feel so passionate about talking to you about these things because I know there are things that are being placed in your heart and your mind that the world needs. We need you and the things that God has placed in you to share with all of us.
And when you find that avenue, you know, whatever that might be to let that out, the world becomes a better place. And what’s so wonderful is that you don’t share that full time, or you don’t have to. I don’t, you know, with these things. Like I don’t work that much, and I love being able to turn it off and love on my babies and be the mom and the primary caregiver with them. So, I just wanted to share that also on, you know, whatever’s in your heart and your mind, it’s there for a reason. Yes.
So, the topic that we have today for this recording is the gift of receiving. And this has been on my mind and in my heart, like I mentioned, probably since, like, the beginning of December. But because I was buried in motherhood and new babyhood, I wasn’t able to.
So, I did—it still has been on my heart and mind—so, I did want to share it today. So, we’re going to start with our game. You know This Podcast Episode Is for You is if you love to serve. You love to give. It’s something that is really important to you, and you feel really good when you do it, but you find that it’s awkward to ask for help for yourself.
You’ll find also that This Podcast Episode Is for You is if there are times where you do ask for help and you kind of brush it aside. Not like in an entitled way, but it’s almost like you don’t really let that help sink in or the love that somebody’s sharing with you, like, really soak into your soul.
Also, you’ll know This Podcast Episode Is for You is if you are worried that you’re failing if you need other people or if you do ask for help. If you have this, you know, internal belief that you are a strong, independent woman, but that if you have to ask for help, then somehow, you’re failing.
And then the last thing, you’ll know This Podcast Episode Is for You is if you feel like you don’t have anyone you can ask for help. Okay. So, when I think about this, especially during Christmas time, as moms, we love to teach our children the gift of giving. And I think that’s so important. And the reason why I’m not talking about that right now is because I know, Mom, you are very good at giving. You give to your children, to your family, to your community, to your friends constantly. And I want you to just, for right now, let that go because this isn’t a podcast episode for your children. This is a podcast episode for you.
And I want you to really think about what it means to have the gift of receiving. So, what I found in most, you know, of our Christian culture, and the conversations that we have, we want to become like Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was always living in selfless service. That, you know, the pure love of Christ, that pure charity always giving to other people. But I want you, for just a minute, to think about how he was also a master of receiving. And I know that seems really odd to think about, but I want you just to think about the scripture story of when the woman comes to wash his feet.
Now, when I hear this story and when like, one thing that I love to do is, is always put myself in, you know, the stories. And I think about if there was a woman that was trying to wash my feet, how uncomfortable I would feel and how awkward it would be. Especially—okay. Like really think about somebody washing your feet. Especially if they’re using very expensive oils. She’s using her hair and her tears. Like, really think about, like—it makes me cringe to think about somebody doing that type of service to me. Now what we have recorded is that the savior let that happen. He was able to receive her love. It didn’t say that the savior cringed, you know, in the New Testament. It said that he received that love and allowed that to continue happening.
That is a perfect example of how he was a master of receiving. And I think it’s so often that we overlook that gift and why that’s so important for our heart and soul. And so, I know you’re thinking. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we are commanded to serve; we’re commanded to be selfless.”
And, yes, I agree. And we are also commanded to be like our savior, and he was able to receive this. So, what I have found is that when I step back and I focus on the gift of receiving, what it allows me to do is to feel connected to my brothers and sisters. Not like my immediate, but humankind brothers and sisters. That we are all in this together.
And it’s a very vulnerable act to let your guard down and to allow somebody to deeply love you. And somebody that may not be like a spouse or your children, but somebody that really wants to serve you out of the goodness of their heart. It’s a very vulnerable place to be. So, when I think about how I’ve had to learn this lesson, I find, with every one of my lessons well, that with every one of my births, excuse me, that I have received a very significant life lesson.
Like with my first birth. I felt like it was just so overwhelming, and I was having to learn to trust myself on a very deep level, the instincts, and the promptings that I have more than the books and the articles and the experts. With my second, I learned to understand my brain on a deeper level. I struggled with postpartum depression very badly, and I had to learn that it’s okay. That my brain didn’t always function to the highest capability and that I needed other resources.
I felt like with my third, I was able to really increase my ability to feel joy in the midst of physical complications. I had, I think I’ve mentioned this in the past, where I had something called symphysis pubis dysfunction where my pelvis separated too far. So, during that pregnancy, my third pregnancy, I had a wheelchair—or I had a walker, and then afterward it got worse, and I was in a wheelchair after I gave birth. And so, I had to really practice on like focusing on joy despite all of these physical complications.
And I feel like with this birth, the lesson that I’ve really been taught is that it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to receive that help. So, I remember a friend once saying something when she was volunteering to help us with something. And I just, I remember my husband at the time, you know, we were having a conversation together with her and he said something, “Yeah, yeah, but I can do that.” And she said, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
And that, like, that really hit me. Like that settled deep into my heart. You know, this was years ago that she said that, and I thought about that with this birth, on how there were a lot of things. Like I wasn’t in a wheelchair this time. I’m so grateful I wasn’t. Like physically, I felt fantastic after giving birth compared to my last one. But there were still a lot of challenges that we were having. But also, I just knew that this time around, I wanted to ask for help. And it was a very vulnerable place to be admitting that, yeah, I’m okay and I’m still choosing to ask for help.
And that was as uncomfortable as hell. I’ll be honest. So, when I had, you know, a friend reach out, and she said, “Can I bring you dinner?” In the past, I have always said, “Oh, we’re okay. Thank you very much. That’s so sweet of you to offer.”
And this time, no matter how vulnerable or uncomfortable it felt, I said, “Yes. Please. That would be wonderful. Thank you very much.”
Same thing with, you know, can I hold your baby? Like I have—this is the joy of having babies in your late thirties. A lot of my friends are done having babies and they want to hold a baby, which is so wonderful. And so, you know, I’ve had some friends, you know, say something like, “Can I hold your baby while you shower?”
And in the past, it’s like, “Nah, it’s not a big deal. You know, I can put them in a little carrier while I shower.” You know what? This time, I said, “Yes, actually that would be wonderful. Thank you very much.” And then I had a nice luxurious shower, and it was heavenly. Like, I could just give you so many examples of how much people have shown up and how uncomfortable it was for me to accept that help, to receive that help. And the more I have let my guard down, the more I have allowed people to see me in this vulnerable state, the deeper my love is for every single one of these people, and I hope that their love is just as deep.
You know, another wonderful example is with my in-laws and with my parents. My husband had a lot of travel over the last little bit. A lot. I mean, it felt like a lot when you have a new baby. And in the past, I would’ve always said, “You know, it’s fine. We’ll deal with it. It’s not a big deal.”
Like, I’m really good at doing that. I’m really good at like managing a lot of stuff and this time, I knew I didn’t want to put that additional strain on my family or my body. And so, when my mother-in-law volunteered to come stay with us while my husband was gone, I said, “Yes, thank you. That would be wonderful.”
And it was uncomfortable. Not because I’m uncomfortable with her, but because I was uncomfortable receiving my help. Or my parents saying, you know, “I can come after work.” And knowing that they had already had a long day at work, and I still said, “Yes, please come and help me. You know, put the kids to bed while I’m juggling nursing.”
So, all of these examples, every single time I wanted to kind of brush it aside. And instead, I did something very deliberate, where every single time, I said, “yes, please. That would be wonderful. Thank you.”
Or when they were there, I would give myself moments where I would just find a quiet, literally, a moment. There’s not a lot of quiet moments around here. But you know, when I could, where I would just close my eyes, and I would just take a deep breath, and almost like imagine love coming into my body. And I would just allow it to settle and to soak in for a minute. I would ride that wave of love. And I’ll tell you, like, I would want to push that aside every single time. But instead, I would just stay with it and just let myself know it’s okay, that this is uncomfortable, this is love. It’s okay to be receiving this love.
And the other thing that I noticed, for myself at least, was that it’s very easy for my brain, when I ask for help, to label that as a sign of weakness. And so, when I was receiving this love, not only was I receiving love from other people, I was also practicing self-love. That this is a new version of me. I’m someone that receives love from other people. That doesn’t mean that I’m weak. It actually is a sign of strength. And so, these are the thoughts that I had going through my head as I was allowing that love to soak in. And I have found that my ability to love and to feel deeper has increased over this last little bit. And what a beautiful, wonderful experience that it’s been. Even though it’s been uncomfortable and very vulnerable.
So, the last thing that I really wanted to mention, because I’ve heard this before from other people and from myself, is what if you don’t have anyone to ask for help? And I will tell you.
So, after my second baby, she was about eight months old when I finally decided to call a therapist and see someone for the very first time. At the time, I didn’t know it was postpartum depression that I had. I was, I just knew that I wasn’t myself and things were very, very bad and that I was, I was scaring myself in the way that I scared my children.
And so, at that time, you know, I was sitting in her office. This was the first time, she said, you know, “When you’re having a bad day, who do you call?” And I just sat there. She’s like, “You’ve got family members, you’ve got friends. Like, who do you call?” And I just sat there and for the very first time, I realized I didn’t have a community. Not because I didn’t have people around me, but because I was not comfortable letting those people in to be my community.
I was not okay welcoming these people in to be my village. And that really hurt, like when I realized that. And at the time, I didn’t see that I had people. I was convinced I had no one. Okay? And that was my own brain telling me that these people didn’t exist, that they had their own burdens. Like I couldn’t burden other people with my stuff, is what I thought.
And so, when, at that moment, and we really started talking about vulnerability, and learning Brene Brown’s work… if you don’t know Brene Brown, you can Google her. She’s got some fantastic YouTube videos that really talk about vulnerability. She’s a PhD. This is what she does, you know, for a living. She studies vulnerability. And so, as I started to learn that I realized that I needed to allow and foster relationships, but that required me to be vulnerable with people. And I had to learn how to be a friend. And I know that sounds so silly, but for me, I really didn’t understand the give and take of friendships.
And again, I would give to other people, but I wouldn’t take in what they offered. I would always keep people at arm’s length and not open up to what was really going on in my life. And so, as I started doing that. So, I really focused on, like, letting my guard down and letting people in, as well as I started praying that I would know who my community and my village are.
You know, who are those people that I can be friends with? And it’s so easy for us to say, “Well, nobody. Nobody is around.” Like, I don’t know who those people are, but I am here to promise you that those people are there. As you pray for them, God will help you find them, and they will become your village.
And that may be family members; that may be friends that you already have that you deepen relationship; that may be total strangers. And the reason why I say that is because one of my absolute closest friends I met on an airplane. And I’m not joking! Like I was sitting in the seat in front of her, totally eavesdropping on her conversation. Okay? It was super awkward that I was doing that, but I just happened to hear… you know, “happened.” Like I was eavesdropping. Let’s be real. You know, like as my ears, like in between that little crevice between the seats, that’s what I’m listening to on the airplane. And I heard her say that she was going to the same training that I was going to! And I had no intention on becoming really good friends with her.
But I waited for her to get off the plane, and like a creep, I, like, jumped on her and asked her if I could share an Uber with her. Like, so awkward. Like, who does that? I don’t talk to strangers. Especially then. And it just happened that she was okay with that, and she was okay sharing an Uber. And we have become such close friends ever since, but that’s just an example of how God brings people to you to be in your circle, to be part of your village.
Even opening up more and allowing my mother-in-law, you know, to serve and my father-in-law to serve our family, and my parents, and my sisters, and like so much, so many people that love and care about me that I used to keep at arm’s length because it was uncomfortable for me to receive help and to receive that love.
So, if you feel like you don’t currently have anyone that you can ask, start recognizing where you have walls up and start practicing, you know, lowering those walls and start praying for those people for God to help you help illuminate those people that are meant to be in your life. God wants us, you know, these righteous desires that you have in these people, I promise you, will emerge, and then you’ll be able to start welcoming in these people in your village.
I will end with also saying that at the time, I felt like it would… it would be a failure of me as a mom if I needed to have help with my children. And that was a really big concern for me, especially when I decided to work more. To where, I had always worked, but it was always in evenings and naps, and I knew that I wanted to do a little bit more. Now, a little bit is, like, maybe 10 to 20 hours. Like I’ve built my business mostly on ten hours of work. I work more now because I choose to, and I love it. But even then, I never work more than, you know, 15 to 20 hours a week. And so, and that’s, you know, a huge blessing that I have in my life.
I know that’s not everybody’s scenario. Okay? But when I had to make that decision to get help with my kids, I thought I was failing my children. I thought that was wrong of me and that I shouldn’t be doing that. And I’ve got, you know, that’s a whole other podcast on, you know, the culture that I was raised in, that, you know, the only way to be a good mom was to be a stay-at-home mom.
That’s not the case. And what I have found is that whether you are asked, like, whether you’re trading play dates with a friend, to hiring someone, to accepting help from family, there is something so innately beautiful about having a common love for each other’s children with another woman. And like we’re meant to be in a village; we’re meant to be taking care of one another as women, as humankind.
And I have something so incredible happen as I’ve watched, you know, sitters; I’ve watched grandparents, I’ve watched siblings, I’ve watched friends open up their hearts to my children. And what I’ve seen is that my children now have more people that love them, that are behind them, supporting them in their court, and their confidence has grown because of it.
I am still an amazing mom. I’m still there for my children at every turn they take, and now they have additional people that they can turn to at any given time that they need in their life. And we have been able to create lifelong relationships with these people that we love. And that all came from a shared love of my children first. And that is incredibly beautiful.
So, if there’s anything I can leave with you today, you know, of this gift of receiving is the more that you practice and think of asking for help and receiving that help as a gift for you, the more deeply you’ll feel people’s love. You’ll feel your self-love.
You’ll feel God’s love. You’ll really receive that, and you’ll feel more connected to other women. And oh my gosh, it’s such an incredible gift. I am here to tell you. It is completely worth the discomfort to get there. I want you to also know that I am here for you. I know that sometimes when you’re listening to somebody, they seem so far off and so far removed. I promise I’m not far removed from you. I am in the trenches alongside you. I am full with my client load right now, but if you are wanting to work with a coach, if you’re wanting to work with me as your coach, sign up to do a consult now because I will be scheduling my next available spots… will be about the end of February and beginning of March.
So, if this is something that you are interested in, do a consult now so that you can, you know, have those next spots when they do open up. But also know that if, like paying me, you know, to work with me isn’t in the cards right now, that’s okay. Shoot me an email if there’s something that you need right now, because I want you to know that you’re not alone and I want you to feel and receive my love because I do love and care about you. This is why I show up to work and why, you know, I show up in my office despite not finding things my children have misplaced. I want you to know that you’re not alone and that I do love you. Have a wonderful day.
Thank you for listening. Please share, review, and subscribe to this podcast so that together we can live life on purpose.
How to Connect with Lara:
Work with Lara: www.larajohnsoncoaching.com/work-with-me/