A time to help, and a time to be helped.

“There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”

“No! Me do it.” Recognize those words? You must have heard them before from a toddler, recently finding his or her voice and discovering independence. We get aggravated with them because the additional time it takes for them to complete the task will most likely take  significantly longer than if we did it for them, yet we secretly cheer at the thought of one less task on our agendas. We feel the sweet smell of success when our children can do things for themselves. For me, that independence took on a life of its own in adulthood. Why is it so difficult to ask for help? Is it the fear of looking weak? Like someone will think we can’t “handle” things? We’re somehow wasting their valuable time?

I love helping others. It’s why I became a counselor. Helping is just part of my nature. And it was a significant part of my nurturing as a youth. (Did you catch that nature vs. nurture reference?) My parents and the other adults around whom I was raised modeled giving of themselves every single day. Sometimes I even give of myself too much and get myself into trouble because I find it difficult to stop. I spread myself thin and find myself drained, physically and emotionally. But the chatter in my head tells me, “Don’t stop, there is more to do. If you need help, those you are helping will somehow think you aren’t good enough to help them.” (Don’t dismiss me. Just admit it happens to you, too!)

About three years ago, I found myself feeling exhausted and stressed out with tasks to do, decisions to be made, and a medical issue that left me physically and emotionally empty. It took me awhile, but I finally connected with four beautiful ladies from high school in a private message group on Facebook. I was afraid of being judged. Of believing that my issues did not warrant the kind of concern I was giving them. “What if they think I’m being silly or a big baby?” I can truly say that making myself vulnerable and asking for their prayers and words of encouragement have changed my life. They did not judge me. They did not scold me. They promised their prayers and offered words of love and lifted me. And they shared their own struggles so I, in turn, could pray for and encourage them. I would have missed out on a huge blessing had I given in to my fears and not asked for their help. And my asking keeps on giving.

You say, “But I can’t do that. I can conquer my hurdles on my own. I don’t need help. Asking would make me appear weak.” So, let’s say you had a friend who got themselves into a bind, and had they asked you for help, you could have prevented or at least lessened their difficulties. Wouldn’t you feel disappointed that they were afraid to ask? You feel satisfaction when you help someone who really needs it, right? Maybe others do, too!

I am challenging myself to remember how I get a blessing when I help others, and others receive a blessing when they have an opportunity to help me. Try it. I double dare you.

One thought on “A time to help, and a time to be helped.

  1. Reblogged this on journalmehealthy: is what i see in the mirror real? and commented:

    Things have been a little crazy in my life. Many of you read my post about the emotional conflict of moving, and moving is exactly why I didn’t write last week. I’m reposting this because asking for help was a painful experience as well. How is it we (and I really mean “I”) think that mentioning to friends and coworkers a challenge ahead of us is really communicating that we need help? Why is it so painful to actually admit we can’t do something alone? For so long I’ve been pretty independent. I really do love learning to do things on my own. I used to change the oil in my car. Because I could, and save money. I have primed the water pump on an evaporative cooler and changed the pads myself. (Those of you not living in the Arizona desert might need an explanation regarding said evaporative cooler, aka swamp cooler.) I’ve change the O-rings on a pool backwash valve because paying someone to do it was out of the question. I’ve installed shower doors by myself. I’ve taped, dry-walled, and skip-trowelled a room. I’ve installed a ceiling fan, changed a ceiling fan light switch, and many other outside-the-box tasks. Asking for help is like nails on a chalkboard for me, so having to ask for help in moving last week was beyond difficult and way outside my comfort zone. But I had to do it. There was no way I could do it alone. And although there were many who couldn’t help because of the urgent-last-minute-nature of my request or the distance, those who were able to help, did so with a gracious spirit. I am extremely grateful and humbled by some who came a significant distance to help. Others worked throughout the night because it was cooler. Still others worked in the hot sun with no complaint and genuinely-giving attitudes.
    So, that double dare? That came back to bite me. And I very nearly fell under the weight of it. Eating my own words was a bitter experience. In following through, I have grown and become more compassionate toward others who need my help. Hopefully I can remember this lesson the next time I need help.

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