“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on 'going it alone.' Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into 'those who offer help' and 'those who need help.' The truth is that we are both.”
You know those memes and prints that say phrases like, “You’ve got this!” and other motivational words? I think those are great, and can truly be motivating sometimes. Some days, I really do need a kick in the butt and someone to say, “You’ve got this!”
But other days, it is so abundantly clear that I don’t “got this.” I need a hand-lettered print that says, “You are completely falling apart today…and that’s OK.” Or “Maybe today you should ask for help – and not feel guilty about it.” Or “You’re not the only one who has massive meltdowns.”
I’m appreciative of the emphasis I’ve seen lately in social media and other places on encouraging others, embracing the messy, and not always trying to be perfect. Even so, those ideals seem nearly impossible for me to live out! I feel like I have to “handle it,” and in my head, asking for help is a signal of failure. Mama, it’s not. There’s a great deal of good in the idea of independence, but let’s remember that we were never actually created to be entirely independent.
I’m currently reading Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman, and one section stood out to me like a blinking neon sign. She writes, “Things that are part of our design – our need for others in community, our physical limitations, being embodied in an ‘earthly tent,’ and our lack of knowledge – are not failures…this is the way God designed us.”
That was a breath of fresh air to me. While I do fail in so many ways every day, my dependence is not one of them. Asking for help is a part of life – a beautiful part of life that so often I shove to the side for the sake of my independence. If I am created to be dependent, I don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed when I admit my need. (Can I get an “Amen?”) And to take it one step further, when we accept help freely, I think we're more likely to give it freely. As Brene Brown says, “Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
We were not meant to do life alone. We were meant to depend on Christ and lift each other up in the good times and hard times. There is no more reward for the one who secludes herself from her community and attempts to “handle it” than the one who works hard and asks for the help and the guidance of others.
Over the last few months as I've been extra tired during this pregnancy and we were sick a good portion of the winter, we've been the recipients of extra hands to help and lots of meals from friends and family. We've been nourished in body and soul, and for that I am learning to not feel guilty, but be truly thankful.
If you're in a place to give to someone else right now, these baked oatmeal cups make a perfect quick breakfast or grab-and-go snack for someone who could use a break. (And since Mother's Day is around the corner, pair a batch with a copy of The Magic of Motherhood to encourage a mama's heart!)
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Yields 12 oatmeal cups
Adapted from The Kitchn
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if needed)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted almond butter
2 Tablespoons honey
1 cup raisins
Yogurt, honey, or fresh fruit for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular-sized muffin tin or line with paper baking cups. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, almond butter, and honey.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in the raisins. Divide the oatmeal mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 22-25 minutes.
Serve with yogurt, additional honey, or fresh fruit. These oatmeal cups can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, or you can freeze them.