Several days ago I posted an entry about asking for help and how when we do this, it really is a blessing to both us and to those who want to help us. However, I really should have entitled it, "Accepting Help is a Blessing" because what I was writing about was more focused on situations where women are not accepting the help that is being offered to them in times of need. Some great questions were asked of me about the subject that I would like to address here, and they have more to do with this issue of asking for help when we need it and it is not already being offered.
There are five biblical principles I'd like to look at as I answer these great questions. So, I will write on and post one a day for the few several days.
1. The Community of Christ (a.k.a the Body of Christ). This is a metaphor used in Scripture by Paul in three different letters to describe how we are called to live in unity with one another, as a body has unity within its members (the hands and the feet agree and function with the heart, liver and kidneys, etc, all working towards accomplishing the same thing, whatever that may be). And Jesus Christ is supposed to be the head: the part of the body or community that leads and instructs what the members of the body should be doing. (Please see Rom 12:3-8, 1 Cor 12:12-31, and Eph 4:1-16 for the specific references and more information on this.)
While other people are supposed to help us no matter what (more on this in the days to come), we have some responsibility in getting the help we need. First and foremost, we need to be in a community of people who can help us. Now, obviously I highly advocate being involved in a Christ-based Christian community, but even if you aren't or don't want to be, you still need a community of people to pool from in times of need. This can include a list of babysitters, addiction sponsors, or even crisis hotlines. But, if we don't purposefully connect to people who are equipped to help us, then there's not much they can do for us.
Secondly, we need to let people know that we need help in order for them to give it to us. As much as women like people to read their minds, it just doesn't happen. In one of my favorite movies, Sliding Doors, a woman tells her boyfriend, "Gerry, I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we do reserve the right to get [upset] if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating!" (I made the quote more family-friendly). This makes me laugh out loud because it is so ridiculous and true sometimes. But, people cannot "just tell" what you want and offer to give it to you.
One question I received was, "What do you do when you do ask for help and no one responds? Do you keep asking until you find someone to help or do you just do whatever is needed on your own?" YES, if you need something, keep on asking until you get it. Jesus tells us this is how we are to pray, too! (Luke 18). Do not be timid; be bold. They may not say yes, but they will have heard you and probably can suggest another way to get help, or talk to someone else who might be able to help you. I know this is hard if you are afraid of rejection or are focused on what other people think of you, which I will get to more in depth later, but if you really want help with something, you have to ask for it, in a way people have heard you, in a community that is equipped to help you.