Some people have conquered the skill of receiving help, but for many of us, it seems it’s easier to minister to others than to be ministered to. We feel much for comfortable making a meal for someone or helping them clean their house than we do having someone do the same for us. Maybe it’s the embarrassment of being in a position that warrants help or maybe it’s the idea of allowing someone to see our need first-hand, especially if it involves a dirty bathroom or sticky kitchen floors. Often, we would rather be a “victim” of people forgetting about us than to be acknowledged and helped in some way.
What keep us from being blessed by others?
Obviously, we all know that pride is a sin, but often it come disguised as something seemingly good. “We don’t want to bother others with our troubles.” or “It’s much more blessed to give than to receive.” Those responses sound good, but can really be hiding a proud spirit. Showing a weakness before others is difficult, and usually involves some kind of embarrassment (hurt pride) in our own inability to maintain an acceptable standard in some area – whether it is the failure to provide a meal for our husband and children, our helplessness to manage our children, or our physical limitations to keep our home clean and kept.
We, too often, find ourselves creating a standard based upon unrealistic comparisons. We see all the moms at church or Bible study able to keep it all together, with a smile on their faces. They never scream at their children or fight with their spouse. The whole family is in clean clothes – ironed too! – and the kids even have matching outfits, probably home-made! We replay the past week with our family – the fights, the messes, the piles of dirty clothes (with a load still wet in the washer), the mud all over the living room rug, and the dog that smells of something dead he found outside. Wow, do we fall short! However, if you re-read this scenario, you will eventually realize that we are comparing our “insides” to the other moms’ “outsides.” We see the result of the chaos they experienced to get there, just as they see the results of our seeming disasters. Their results may still appear better, but chances are, ours are better than someone else’s.
But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12b
2. Being Intentionally Introverted
We don’t want to ask for help. If someone can read our minds and see our need, then we will accept the help, but otherwise, we aren’t going to seek assistance. This is sometimes when we tend to “victimize” ourselves. We get upset and hurt if those around us don’t step in with timely aid, and we grumble and become bitter that people are blind to our needs. Now we are expecting others to see our “insides,” put their lives on hold, and then guess the proper solution to problem. Someone may have even dropped off a meal, but if you really desired help with childcare, then, the meal was probably quickly forgotten.
We need to be forthcoming about needing help and telling others exactly what we need help with. It often feels really difficult to call up a friend and ask, even if they told you to. “Let me know if you need anything” is easy for people to say, but it’s always hard to know who truly means it. Just ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” That person could say, “No.” Then what? Ask someone else.
If you refuse to ask or refuse to receive, you are robbing another person of a blessing. Allow them to receive that gift that you receive when you help others.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away. Proverbs 27:9-10
Some people just don’t need or want help. They prefer to work through difficult times in solitude. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have some space to think and to regain a sense of normalcy. Sometimes, this is precisely what God wants for us as well. We discussed this in “Stuck or Still.” http://perfectjoyministries.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/stuck-or-still/
Be still, and know that I am God.Psalm 46:10a (kjv)
But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.Psalm 4:3-4(kjv).
However, there may be a situation where you are the beneficiary of God teaching someone else about giving and about empathy. Do not rob them of a life lesson, just because you do not need their involvement. Try to accept it with humility and grace, being thankful that God has chosen to redeem your heartache in a small way in another person’s life. You will likely be able to come up with a solution that will meet both of your needs, such as allowing them to make a meal or watch your children, which will, in turn, give you more alone time. It isn’t a sin to not desire or need help, but it is a sin to cause a stumbling block in another person’s life or to interfere with allowing God to receive the glory due Him. (This doesn’t mean that you need to accept every single offer of help, but you need to be discerning.)
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.Romans 14:13
But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.1 Corinthians 8:9
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.Romans 15:7
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:10-11
Then, sometimes, help just isn’t available in the area we truly need it. As moms, we have all had those days when we really wanted a “sick day,” a chance to recoup and regroup. As wives, we have had times when we could have really used some great counsel and words of wisdom in dealing with our husbands. There have been times in all of our lives when the shoulder to lean on or the ear to listen or the hands to help have not been obtainable. In these moments, we must trust that our God knows our deepest needs, and He is able and willing to help us. Sometimes, just sometimes, He is all we need.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. Psalm 72:12-13
If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. Psalm 94:17
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp53p04-22-14