Asking for help has to be one of the hardest things we do. I’m not talking about asking your buddies to help move your furniture in return for beer and pizza. I’m talking about being in need or crisis and reaching out to someone for emotional, physical, or financial help.
Having grown up watching my father scam nearly everyone he met, I have been averse to asking for help in my life. Seeing my father manipulate people for his own personal gain was such a bad example I kind of vowed to be an island and not seek help even if I needed it. That was a big mistake.
Perhaps the main reason that was a mistake was because I actually needed help! I could have saved myself and others tremendous grief and heartache had I reached out for help when I knew I was in trouble emotionally and financially. But my pride got in my way – I was too proud to let anyone know I needed help and was unwilling to humble myself because I saw that as weakness and felt I would be humiliated by others for my needs. My insecurities kept me from getting the help I desperately needed and unfortunately those around me paid as much for my pride as I did.
But a second reason I should have reached out for help didn’t become apparent until I returned to the church after being out of church for 25 years. As I was re-learning church culture an older man in the church made a comment that really struck me. My buddy Jim Blackwell told me that by not accepting help I was stealing someone else’s blessing.
I had never really thought about it that way. If you’re like me you like to be the “giver” not the “receiver.” We always feel good when we can lend a hand and help someone else with a problem. We would all say that we are blessed when we get to do that. Jim turned that around on me and said that by not letting someone help me I was actually stealing their blessing – the same blessing I enjoyed so much when I give.
It was a very convicting statement, but one I knew was true, and one that changed how I perceived asking for and receiving help from others.
There is a verse that has helped me make this transition. Luke 23:26 reads, “As they led him away (Jesus), they (Roman soldiers) seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.” You see, even Jesus needed help carrying His cross when he was in crisis. And Jesus didn’t say, “No, I can do it myself. I don’t need anyone’s help.” Jesus was a beaten man and needed all the help He could get at that moment and I am sure He was relieved, if only momentarily, from that heavy burden.
Let me say this another way: If Jesus needed help carrying His cross I can admit that I need help carrying mine, too.
I want to try to convince you today that asking for help when you need it isn’t a bad thing. Yes, you will have to deal with your pride and humble yourself a bit, but God has surrounded us with each other for this very purpose – so that we can help each other.
But I also want to convince you today to ask for help when you need it and not wait until you have spiraled so far down the drain that helping becomes difficult if not impossible.
Having grown up in a broken home suffering neglect and abuse, I knew there was something not quite right about the way I thought and acted by the time I was in high school. I just wasn’t like everyone else. Of course, I hid that behind a façade of normalcy the best I could and went day by day hoping nobody would see how much I was struggling.
There were adults I could have turned to – my foster parents, my band teachers, parents of friends – but I didn’t. By the time I decided to turn to Jesus for help I had left a significant path of destruction behind me, deeply hurting the people I loved most, which never had to happen had I just reached out for help when I knew I needed it years earlier.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make (albeit rather clumsily): don’t wait to ask for help! The longer you wait the more complex it becomes to help and the more hurt you inflict on yourself and others needlessly.
I don’t know what’s going on in your lives right now, but God has put a message on my heart to share with you: You Don’t Have to Live This Way. God has a better way for you. If you’re having money problems, ask for help. If you’re having marital problems, ask for help. If you’re having problems at work, ask for help. If you are struggling with depression/anxiety, ask for help. If you are struggling with addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling), ask for help. You don’t have to live this way! God has or will put people in your life that walk with you and help you through this if you just ask!