Devotions

Accepting Help Is Scary

May 14, 2018
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
Pinterest Image I just passed a big milestone: My youngest child turned 5.

This is huge for me, because I had six babies in eight years. For much of my time as a parent, I had three children in diapers at once. Now that my youngest is officially not a toddler anymore, I’ve been reflecting on what I learned in the season of life when my house looked like a baby factory. The lesson that had the biggest impact on my life (yet was the hardest to learn) was this:

When you’re in a season of struggle and people ask if they can help you, the correct answer is “YES!”

As a convert to Christianity from atheism, I had read the Bible closely and was fascinated by the many exhortations to support our brothers and sisters in Christ. I would nod as I read about bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and uniting as one body in Christ (Romans 12:4-5) — but when I imagined applying those verses to my life, I always imagined myself serving others.

For me, helping others is vastly easier than accepting help. I wish I could tell you this tendency is because of my Christ-like selflessness, but there is a far less noble motive behind it: pride.

Accepting help from others means someone might see my mess.

These fears aren’t exactly unfounded: Once I reluctantly let a friend bring a meal during a tough time. She walked in to see a headless Barbie in a puddle of what I thought was water in our entryway (it wasn’t water). Another time a neighbor offered to babysit, and the kids’ behavior was so bad that I considered telling her these were not actually my kids but feral children I found out in the woods.

Declining offers of help means I never have to let anyone see the messy side of my life. I can pat myself on the back for being self-sufficient — while secretly exhaling in relief that nobody saw my dirty laundry.

It was painful and humbling to finally admit I did need help, that I didn’t have it all together. That was also when I truly, deeply experienced what Paul means when he says that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Those three words — “I need help” — set into motion the Lord working in my life in new, powerful ways. My secret struggles that caused me so much shame went from the darkness into healing light. I experienced a new level of gratitude for my fellow Christians and was filled with inspiration to pay back their love and generosity as soon as I was able. It’s helping me live out today’s key verse, Galatians 6:2. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

There was another benefit I discovered one evening when a friend came to drop off coloring books for the kids after I’d had a new baby. “Jen, I’m so glad you let me help you,” she said as she handed me individually wrapped goodie bags for each of my kids. After a moment’s hesitation, she continued, “I have been struggling with a problem that’s bigger than I can handle on my own. I have always been too scared to tell anyone else what’s going on, but when you admitted to me that everything wasn’t perfect in your life, it made me think that maybe it’s OK if I do that too. You’ve inspired me to ask for the help I’ve needed for a long time.”

When we accept help, we give others permission to accept help, too.

Lord, give me the wisdom to know when I need help, and the humility to accept it when it’s offered. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (NIV)

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book, One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, just recently released. It’s the story of her struggle to balance her own dreams with her life as a mother of six young children. It chronicles many of the lessons she had to learn about accepting help from others.

CONNECT:

Jennifer would love to connect with you on Instagram or Facebook.

Ever struggled with saying yes to help? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on our website today, and you’ll be entered to WIN a copy of One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler. To celebrate this new book, HarperCollins Christian Publishing is giving away 5 copies! {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, May 21, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

If you’ve ever declined offers of help out of a spirit of pride, what made you afraid to let others serve you? How can you be more open to letting people love you through acts of service in the future?

© 2018 by Jennifer Fulwiler. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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