Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.—Gal. 6:1-3
Adopting Anah has shown me something I did not want to face in myself: my neediness. Though we are training Anah to care for herself, she is still very needy. Unlike the rest of us, her mental handicaps either do not allow her to see what seems obvious to the rest of us or she simply cannot bridge the gaps and connect the dots with reason. If she does, the conclusions she draws, the things she does, are nonsensical or unhelpful.
If she sees a car coming towards her, she does not have the fear that will help her to move out of the way. If we tell her to wipe her runny nose, she’ll do it, but doesn’t know when to stop. I have found her five minutes later, still wiping her nose till its red and raw. Though we are teaching her how to brush her teeth and take a bath—and she is physically capable of carrying out the task—interrupting her in the middle of the routine will leave her completely bewildered as what to do next.
Many times I feel like I’m managing a robot, not a person. Not only do I have to program her, I need to always be pressing the start and stop buttons. Though she likes routine, she also gets bored with it and what was once novel and new is no longer fun, so even when she knows how to do it, we have to keep her moving.
With that said, I am going to be honest here. I really have a hard time with her neediness. It’s not only physically draining but it also repulses me at some deep level. Through these emotions, God has shown me that I am really neither compassionate nor humble. He has highlighted my prideful heart instead.
But once again, God has had to show me that I really am not that different than Anah. I am no less helpless before Him. I am completely needy; I cannot save myself, I cannot do anything to gain eternal life. The only difference is that I can fool myself into thinking that I have it all together.
If for nothing else, I believe I do need Anah in my life to remind me of the true state of my soul. She might be needy, but in her neediness, I need her as well. I need her to slow me down. I need her to remind me that I have limits. I need her to help protect my heart from self-sufficiency and self-importance. Yes, I need her even as she needs me.
Not only that, I need the body of Christ. Each of us, even the most competent and mature among us, is needy. But at the same time, we each offer something to each other that the other person needs. May we learn to both give and receive from one another, that we may spur one another on to reflect Christ more fully.