A show of hands, please: who needs help a lot more than they’re willing to ask for it? My hand is up, too, because my default mode looks like this:
What’s the worst that could happen? The only guaranteed way to not get help is by refusing to ask for it. If you do ask, it’s probably much more likely you’ll get some sort of help, even if not all the help you need. And something is better than the nothing you set yourself up for by choosing not to ask in the first place.
Besides, aren’t you always helping people who ask and even some who can’t ask but want it anyway? You like helping people. You can bet they like helping you, too. Let them. As Jeannie Prinsen puts it, “Accepting help and service from others is an act of grace.” (Big Box, Store – on asking for help.)
When Life Got Hard
A few years ago I had more going on than I could handle. Crises in my extended family and demands at work came down on me at once. You don’t need the details of illness and stress and time running out, but suffice to say that feeling overwhelmed is putting it mildly. One of the demands was a conference I was scheduled to teach at that I almost didn’t make because of the family crises. But make it I did, by the skin of my teeth.
On the first day I saw my friend Dave, a judge from the other end of the state. He came up and gave me a hug, asking “How are you?” in that way that conveys a lot more than the greeting usually does with people I run into.
I said, “Not good. I need your time, just you.”
“We’ll get out of here right after this meeting.”
We did. We walked along the bay and I told him everything. My emotions were raw and right at the surface and at times I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Dave walked slow and listened. Finally we stepped into a restaurant and sat down.
“I didn’t mean to take up your whole evening,” I said.
“It’s about time you let someone help you for a change.”
Where Help Comes From
I don’t think it’s as one-sided as Dave put it. I do get calls and emails from people – friends, colleagues, people I know online – asking for help or advice or prayer. But I have depended on Dave more than once, and I’ve made those same calls and sent those same emails to people, too. I get what he was saying, though. Helping works well when it’s asked for and when it’s freely given.
It’s godly, too:
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
God is the source of all true help and comfort in anyone’s life, and often he delivers that comfort through the people around them.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4.)
Think of those who have comforted you. Think of those you have comforted. It is good to receive and good to give: we can comfort those in trouble.
God never intended for you to go through hard times alone, either. His plan from the beginning has been that we stand by each other. That’s how life works best.
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Who needs you right now? Let them know you will not leave them to stand alone.
What help do you need right now? Ask God to bring a person – or two people – or a multitude of people – to stand alongside you so that you are not alone.
Because none of us are OK all of the time and all of us need help most of the time and that’s OK any time.