When I was first diagnosed with a chronic illness, I felt like all my hopes, plans, and dreams for my future were ruined. My situation felt hopeless. I was overwhelmed, depressed, and angry.
And in my bitterness and sorrow, I tried to push everyone away.
I didn’t need anyone to feel sorry for me. To have pity on me. And I certainly didn’t want my suffering to cause suffering for anyone else.
Life had knocked me down. But I could handle it on my own. I didn’t need any help. I would pull myself up by my own bootstraps.
I was a strong, independent woman. And I was bound and determined to figure it out all by myself.
Why is it so hard for me to admit I need help?
This independent attitude is very prevalent in our culture today. Many times, when we’re going through a season of suffering, we tend to isolate ourselves and push everyone away.
We try to carry our burdens on our own. While acting like they aren’t that heavy.
On the one hand, it feels sort of noble to do this.
After all, we don’t want our suffering to affect anyone else negatively. We don’t want to make them uncomfortable. Or be an inconvenience to them.
We’ve got this. We’ll figure it out. Somehow. We’re not sure how yet. But for now, we’ll put on a brave face. And when someone asks us how we’re doing we will just smile and say, “Fine.”
“It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.”
As the saying goes.
And then we’ll take a shower.
Because as the hot water pours down it drowns out the sound of our aching sobs. The water washing away our tears so no one will know what happened here.
While it may feel noble to not ask for help. To not bother anyone else with our problems and issues . . . what I’m realizing more and more is that (well, at least in my case) my stubborn refusal to ask for help often has a lot more to do with something else.
Something not quite so noble.
It has a lot more to do with my pride.
1) Pride keeps us from admitting we need help.
I don’t want to be seen as weak. Or vulnerable. I don’t want people to think I don’t have my act together.
Even though I really don’t.
I tell myself, “No one wants to hear my complaints after all this time anyway.”
Or that they’re probably thinking, “Man, you’ve had this syndrome for what 10 plus years now. Aren’t you used to it yet? Get over it.”
But perhaps, if I’m brutally honest I really want people to look at me with envy. To wish they could do what I do.
To look at my life and go, “Wow, I don’t know how she does it. She has an illness that affects her everyday life. And yet, she just pushes through. She gets it all done and then some. She handles it so well. She must have it all together. I wish I could be like her.”
And when I’m completely honest like this, I realize it’s really quite sick. The amount of pride in my heart. How I want to be known for my accomplishments.
And to be looked up to by others.
Rather than being vulnerable about my shortcomings, imperfections, and needs. Which in the end, would make me someone who others can actually relate to.
2) Our Culture keeps us from admitting we need help.
Our culture also doesn’t make it easy to be vulnerable and ask for help. Our culture praises those who overcome. Who push through the pain. Who keep going when life is hard.
And by all means, these aren’t bad things.
But there has to be a balance.
Because we also need to be able to say, “I need help right now.”
We need to be able to admit when we’re feeling weak. To be able to confess that we don’t have it all together. That we don’t know what we’re doing. That in this season, we are really struggling.
And we need help.
Is it OK to admit you need help?
Yes, it is totally okay to admit you need help. Because the truth is we ALL are going to go through hard times in life. Times where we need a shoulder to cry on. Someone to talk and vent to. Someone who will walk beside us. Someone who will help us with the burdens we have to carry.
And yet many times, we feel like we can’t share these needs with anyone. Because we think admitting we need help makes us weak.
But what if that is a lie sold to us by the enemy?
The one who wants to keep us isolated, separated, and miserable. After all, in John 10:10 Jesus said this about our enemy:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”-John 10:10a NLT
What if the TRUTH is . . . it takes great STRENGTH to admit we need help?
- It takes great STRENGTH to admit our weaknesses.
- It takes great STRENGTH to be vulnerable.
- It takes great STRENGTH to be open and honest about the fact that we can’t do it on our own.
- It takes great STRENGTH to be vulnerable enough to say, “I’m really struggling during this time. And I need help with life.”
Admitting you need help is the first step.
While admitting you need help can be very difficult, it is the first step towards finding real healing and peace. But there are many other reasons for taking this necessary and vital step.
Because there are many benefits to accepting the help of others.
1) Benefit 1: Admitting you need help means you’re NOT ALONE.
In this day and age, we are fiercely independent. Determined to do it all on our own. So, whenever anyone asks us how we are . . . we say we are doing GOOD.
Even when we’re not.
And because of this when bad things happen in life, we’re left trying to carry our burdens all alone. Even though this is something we were never meant to do.
After all, in Galatians 6:2 Paul commands us to:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”-Galatians 6:2 ESV
I was lucky though, because in my season of suffering, even though I tried hard to push everyone away, God sent people to help me.
People who I could text in the middle of the night. People who were willing to confront the lies I was believing and speak the truth into my life. People who loved me even in my darkest moments and kept pointing me back to Jesus.
And to be honest, I still need those people sometimes.
Because I’m still walking this hard road of dealing with a chronic health condition. And I’m so grateful I don’t have to walk this road alone.
Admitting we need help allows other people to come alongside us in our time of need. And this benefits us because we no longer have to face the hard things alone.
The truth is we were never meant to do this life on our own. Because we are stronger together.
Benefit 2: Admitting you need help means a BLESSING for everyone.
What if instead of worrying about making people uncomfortable with our honesty over our struggles or feeling like an inconvenience when we ask others for help . . . we realized that by allowing them to be there for us in our time of need:
We are giving them a chance to be a blessing to us. And in turn, this can be a real blessing to them.
After all, it is better to give than to receive.
If you’ve ever had the chance to help someone out, you know how amazing you feel about it afterward. It really does boost our spirits and gives us a sense of purpose.
So, why rob someone of that?
Let them enjoy that awesome feel-good feeling by giving them a chance to help you!
Benefit 3: Admitting you need help can lead to FRIENDSHIP.
When our world falls apart, and the pain is too much for our hearts . . . what we need most in those moments is to know we’re not alone. To know that someone else understands. That someone else is by our side.
What we need most in those hard moments . . . is a really good friend.
While friendships are often born from similar interests and complementary personalities, some of the deepest and strongest friendships are born out of adversity.
While God is always with us, He is not a physical being. But He knows that we are.
So, sometimes when we’re facing hard things, He sends people who can do for us something He cannot do (at least on this side of Heaven) . . . He sends people to give us a hug. To reach out and put their arms around us. To place their hands on our shoulders and pray for us.
Physical touch is something God cannot give us right now. So, He chooses to use other human beings to comfort us in this way.
Because God loves to use other people to show us His love for us.
Benefit 4: Admitting you need help means PROTECTION against your enemy.
My kids loved watching educational animal shows when they were younger. We watched Wild Kratts, Animal Planet, and all sorts of other shows. And one day, we saw one of the most interesting things.
There was a water buffalo who was sick, injured, and weak. And there was a pride of lions that had their eye on it.
But when they began their attack something amazing happened.
The water buffalo came to the hurting animal’s defense. The stronger members of the herd attacked the lions, driving them away from the one that was weak. And then the rest of the water buffalo surrounded it.
They created a wall of protection around the one that was in pain and suffering so that there was no way the lions could get at the vulnerable animal to take it out.
Now, listen to this verse:
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”-1 Peter 5:8 NLT
And then listen to this one:
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”-Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT
Our enemy is compared to a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Just like the lions on that show, he is looking for the one who is weak, injured, suffering, and all alone.
And it is only through the help of others that we can find protection in our time of need.
When we allow others to help us, they can drive away the enemy, surround us in prayers to protect us, and help us until we are strong enough to stand on our own.
And then we can do the same for them.
By allowing people to help us, and doing what we can to help others . . . we can literally stop the enemy.
Benefit 5: Admitting you need help prepares you to HELP OTHERS in the future.
Since my health diagnosis, I’ve encountered many people like me who are struggling with health issues. And because of what I’ve been through I can speak life over them.
I can encourage them and share with them what has helped me. (All the things other people shared with me that helped me in my own season of suffering.)
I can pray with them. Give them Bible verses to read. And encouraging songs to play on repeat.
On top of being able to do these things, last year, God had me start this online ministry. And through this space, I am doing what I can to reach out to help other women struggling with their faith and health issues.
Just like the women who helped me.
It’s a beautiful cycle of people helping people.
We admit we need help and accept the help of others during our hard season. And then when we are out of that difficult season and in a better place . . . we can in turn help others around us who are hurting.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”-2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
Admitting You Need Help is the Smartest Thing You Can Do
Admitting you need help might be one of the hardest things for you to do . . . but it is also one of the smartest things you can do.
Because the simple truth is, when you’re in a season where you are hurting, you need other people to walk with you and encourage you on the journey.
It will allow you to get the help you need. And then once you’re out of that hard season, you can in turn help other people around you. People who are hurting like you once were.
Together we can help each other get to a better place.
So, let’s stop trying to do it all on our own and instead make it a priority to do life together.
Let’s be open and honest about the areas where we need help. And then let’s reach out and do what we can to help those around us.
Because remembering that we’re stronger together is how we can help each other get through the storms of life.
And it all starts by admitting we need help.
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