Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An old question, still no answer

I know Michelle brought up this question on her blog lately, but it's been on my mind more and more over the past couple of weeks, especially as I have been watching a few different friends struggle by themselves.
Why is it so hard for some people to accept help?? I find it so frustrating to hear someone I really care about talking about their burdens or even just venting their feelings of discouragement and inadequacy, and yet never be willing to accept any help to lighten the load. It's not that help isn't available, just that they don't see the need for it, or are unwilling to change the way they do things enough to accept the help. I can totally understand the whole mentality of wanting to take care of things yourself. I'm also rather fond of my friend Louann's saying "Just suck it up!" But there are times in our lives when we can't just "suck it up" or take care of it all by ourselves. Sometimes the circumstances are such that we aren't physically able to do what we want, sometimes it's a crushing mental burden, and sometimes we take on so much that we literally push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and depression.
It's at these times that we need to be strong enough to ask for and accept help! It's not strength to be "taking care of it all" and actually be letting things take us over! That's pride. That's an unwillingness to acknowledge that we might just be one of the weak things of this world, and that God made us that way so that we would have to depend on help from others. I think it includes a certain amount of closed-mindedness also. We like to think that OUR way is the best/only way and we aren't open to the idea that other people might have better ways of getting things done. I think that God appreciates when we are willing to come to Him with our burdens and trust in Him to help, but sometimes I think that we look past the fact that the help He sent was the people around us volunteering to carry our burden with us!
I don't know if I'll be able to take my own advice when the time comes that I really need help, but I sincerely hope that I can remember all the times that I wished someone else would accept my offers of help and be willing to give those people who are there for me the opportunity to serve.
(And yes, I'm aware of the need to just DO service for others without them having to ask, but the situations I'm dealing with are ones where they aren't even open to that!!)


Leslie said...

O.k., O.k., you can watch my kids while I try to reclaim my house from the clutter monsters! Ha, ha, just kidding. I know you weren't talking about me. : )

I agree with you. Giving and accepting help each comes with their own blessings and opportunities for growth.

I so appreciate our blogging neighborhood, because I feel like I've found within it people who I can fully trust -- even with my messy house, or my pile of dishes, or my cranky kids, when I truly need help. But I do think that's part of our problem. We think we can't ask for help until we TRULY NEED it. Maybe we should learn to ask for help BEFORE we're at the very end of our ropes.

Hmmm, in that case, could someone watch my kids for me so I can reclaim my house from the clutter monsters?? : ) Ha, Ha. (And so, we've come full circle.)

lou said...

No Leslie, she's talking about me (aren't you ???)- Naw- not ME !
All kidding aside, thanks for your insight on the topic. I know we've discussed many MANY times. I think Leslie is right too, sometimes we need to ask for help before we have a problem. I do want to add 2 things, the first is, when I was new to the church,I did ask for help a couple of times with new babies and such, but I had bad experiences. I've also asked to NOT get help because (esp when I was a single mom) no one asked what I needed, they just offered services that didn't help (and weren't too nice when I wasn't excited about it all). The other thing, is that when I say Suck it Up- that's really ment for those of us who complain and complain, but don't DO anything about our situation. I understand being depressed to the point of immobility. Been there done that. Depression needs help and support.
OK? Love You !!!!!

chelle said...

I have already said my bit on this but is so frustrating. Sorry to hear you are dealing with this as well. It is maddening! If it truely is depression..I can relate to want wanting anyone around for any reason..especially to "help". I know I suffer in silence a lot. But truely I feel my moody, depression tendencies are mine to face. So, I am guilty in that respect. But as for accepting help I am all for it...when I truely need it. Like meals when my back goes out. That is a huge burden lifted off of me and my family. And I am rambling so i will end now! :D
Let me know if there is something I can help with. Not sure what it would be and you wouldn't want my help this week with this nasty flu bug I am fighting. BLAH!
And Leslie, I would be glad to watch your kids anytime. :D

Mama D said...

Leslie, what you need is a teenage daughter who is NOT a pack rat, so she can help unburden you from the clutter monsters. :] It's hard sometimes when she wants to throw away something that this pack rat cringes to get rid of, but it's still nice to have the extra hands from someone motivated to do something about the clutter!

I can send Sarah to help you with clutter or kids if you want! I am also willing to watch your kids. We just have to plan it so it's not the day following an all-nighter at work!

And to reiterate what I said when Michelle posted on this on her blog, sometimes we are given circumstances in life that FORCE us to accept help. It isn't a reflection of not being self-sufficient, rather it is a part of learning to be humble.

I think we all go through phases where we are more willing to ask and/or accept help than at other times. And we need to recognize that we are all at different places along that need/ask/receive help continuum. Hmmm... another area for us to learn to be patient with ourselves (and others) and allow ourselves the space to do well, to fail at times, and to go through the process -- without guilt trips!

That seems to be a recurring theme around our little blogosphere lately... :]

ANTSYLLI said...

When Eric lost his foot 9 years ago I was overwhelmed by the number of people offering to help us. At the time, we lived with my parents because I was helping my Dad care for my Mother. We were pretty self-sufficient, but there have been times since then that we have needed help and have been fortunate enough to have it there. My mother felt bad that I had put my life on hold to help her, but I consider what I did, a labor of love and would not have traded that time with her for anything. When I look around at others struggling who have too much pride to accept help, it reminds me how cunning Satan is...he uses our pride to keep us from allowing others to be blessed by providing service to us. I always try to remember that I don't want to deprive someone else from getting the blessings of service.