I hate asking for help

July 11, 2011

Don’t you?

It’s not so much of a problem if I don’t know something or don’t know how to do something. I’ve always been a willing learner. It’s just been my nature.

But if I need help on something I should know how to do or if I need help in a personal matter, I’ve always found it difficult to seek help from others. Can’t google solve everything?

With the economic downturn, my profession (pastor) and my secondary level of expertise (consultant, programmer, coach), my income has taken a hit like everyone else’s income. The past couple of years have been difficult. And unfortunately, people don’t want to hire pastors with doctoral degrees to sell cell phones. So I’ve had to ask for help.

Did I mention that I hate doing that?

For most of us, there’s a bit of pride in all this. Actually, there’s a whole bunch of pride. We don’t want a handout. We don’t want to live on other people’s dime. We’re not talking welfare…

There is also a desire to be self-sufficient. Except that we Christians should know that self-sufficiency is a farce in the economy of God. Why? Because it’s God’s responsibility to provide for his children. That’s the role of the Father. The company you work for or the church you pastor doesn’t provide for you. God does.

Sometimes that pride and self-sufficiency that we have built up has to be stripped down so that our dependence on God is lived. And very real.

For some reason it’s easy to ask God for help. Maybe because he’s God and God is Spirit so we don’t have to look him in the eye when we make our request.

But to ask for help from a friend or even from family…well, you know…

But doesn’t that deprive the body of Christ from part of its role? “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” Paul said. The early Christians sold stuff to help provide for other Christians.

I know the story of the man who never asked for help from anyone but God for the orphanage he was running and at the last minute God always came through. But I have to think that was more descriptive than prescriptive, otherwise the body of Christ would miss out on so many opportunities to bless and work and serve not only each other but those outside the church.

Maybe part of being a child in God’s family is being willing to ask for help. Not only from God, but from his Church, his visible presence on earth.

I’m not talking about just financial help. But help when the burdens we bear are too great for us, whatever those burdens are.

I’m also afraid that our culture’s relational void has robbed people of the opportunity to help others. That’s the other side of not asking for help, isn’t it? The opportunity to bless and serve others. People don’t ask for help and we are so private about our lives in some areas that others don’t know help is needed. So it makes it hard to help.

So maybe on the flip side, we can begin to do more random acts of kindness. Maybe we can get more involved in people’s lives, to have substantial relationships where we are able to discern their needs and instead of offering help, we just help.

Superficial relationships diminish the opportunity for monumental investments.

Here’s to God meeting your needs. And here’s to God whispering in your ear to help you meet another’s need.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

W. David Phillips © 2018
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