Here’s how to ask for help. See also: How to say yes to offers of help. Ready? Let’s do this!
Why ask for help?
First, we should probably tackle the reasons we need to ask for help. Is it because we are weak and needy? Well, yes actually. But not in the negative way we typically use those words.
I’ll reshare what I wrote a post a couple of years ago explaining Why You Need to Say “YES” to Offers of Help! The reasons included:
- You don’t want to miss out on the powerful work of the Holy Spirit on your behalf through others.
- We are called to live a life of humility.
- Because…we need it. We. Need. Help.
You can read all the words I said about each of those points here. But in summary, when people offer to help you? Say yes. You’re missing out on more of God’s goodness if you don’t!
So we need help. But…
Why do we struggle to ask for help?
Straight up: I believe that the reason we struggle to ask for help is that we are ashamed. We are holding onto pride. We don’t want to admit to ourselves that we actually need help. We don’t want to appear weak. We would rather be the helper, not the one who needs help.
- There is nothing to be ashamed of when asking for help.
- Ungodly pride is sinful and keeps us in a place of hurt.
- It’s time for us to admit that we most certainly need help!
- You can still be a helper. You can also be helped. This is a win-win. Keep reading!
If asking for help is hard for you, it’s time to stop reading this and pray. Ask God to show you how to ask for and say yes to help. Ask Him to heal your pride and to help you acknowledge your needs. Ask Him to fill you with peace and to provide you with answers. Then watch Him be at work for your good!
How I learned to ask for help
The short story is that God didn’t give me a choice. During the past three years, He has filled our home with foster and adopted children, giving us a current total of nine kids as I write this. I currently have three in diapers, one with extra medical needs, and two who are trauma survivors.
My days are so full and the needs in our home are so great that if I didn’t ask for and receive help, I would be drowning.
Right now, I absolutely cannot keep up with laundry. I cannot keep up with dishes. I cannot keep my floors clean. I am running and chasing and training and snuggling and disciplining and in general keeping tiny humans alive all day long. Plus I have a calendar full of meetings, appointments, and events. Caseworkers, therapists, doctors, WIC, lawyers – my phone blows up constantly. My door is revolving with people coming in and out. Sometimes I don’t have time to eat lunch.
Also, I have four older kids. Three out of four have launched, but I’m still their mom. I try to attend their events, answer the phone when they call, offer advice when asked. Our high schooler needs help with school work and guidance in many other ways. I’m not complaining! I’m just sharing the many reasons that:
I have to have help. And I love that God has helped me to embrace my needs and to reach out and ask. The response is overwhelmingly beautiful.
You might be saying to yourself, “Well, I don’t have tons of kids. I don’t have any special needs right now. I am not like you. I can handle my life without help.”
But I caution you to be open-hearted as you consider your true needs. We all need help daily. Some days we need more help, some days we need ALL THE HELP, and some days we may just need a friend to pray for us. Whatever it is you’re doing, be prayerful about humbly accepting help.
Here are some examples of the ways I’ve asked for help JUST THIS WEEK:
- Can you go with me to Malachi’s soccer game and help me chase kids on the sidelines?
- Can you come help me clean my kitchen?
- Can you come watch kids so I can get some blog work done?
- Can you come over at 3:40 and stay with sleeping littles while I go pick up Sister?
- Can you make those cookies we love so much so I can serve them with our college student lunch on Sunday?
- Can you fold the laundry piled up on my bed?
- Can you come stay with the kids while I go to the chiropractor?
- Can you come help put kids to bed while we go to Justus and Elias’ performance?
- Are you available to go get my Walmart pick-up order for me?
- Can you pray for me? Pray for Baby? Pray for…
Sometimes, I don’t even have to ask. Often, because we have been open to help, people reach out and ask what we need.
I have learned that if someone asks to help me, this is God at work in my life for my good. I will not say no to God’s work in my life for my good. So before I answer, I stop and pray. Then I say yes to their offer and tell them what they can do to help me. Why? Because:
I WILL NOT SAY NO TO GOD’S WORK IN MY LIFE FOR MY GOOD.
Say this out loud. Proclaim it for yourself. May God transform us all into people who joyfully receive help when we need it!
Don’t feel guilty. Feel grateful!
Recently I was in the hospital for an unexpected few days with our baby girl. She was my full-time focus, but we had all of our other children at home needing to be cared for. I called on many people to help, and they all went above and beyond.
I didn’t feel guilty about needing help. I didn’t feel bad about asking for help. I didn’t feel weak for needing help.
Instead, I felt grateful that we have such a loving community surrounding our family. I felt joyful that so many were willing to step in and meet our family’s needs. I felt overwhelmed with all the goodness God provides through His people.
Often the Help is Mutual
Here’s one of the biggest truths I’m learning: When people come to help me, I am helping them too. No one is keeping score. This is simply the beauty of how God works!
Some of our biggest helpers are college students. This has turned into a win-win! They bring over their laundry to throw in while they are helping with our kids. They come over as dating or engaged couples and are being given the opportunity to serve together while they grow in their relationship. They bounce babies while I’m cooking and they learn valuable kitchen skills while they observe. They sweep my floor while we talk about Jesus, giving us both the opportunity to grow as I mentor them and they encourage me. Do you see the beauty in this!?!
Start with prayer
It’s time to learn to ask for help. You can do this, and you need to! We all need to! Listen to God’s direction about this, and obey. Ask Him to show you what kind of help you need. Let Him tell you who to ask and how to ask.
Then watch as He provides the answers, the help, and the humility. Be amazed as peace and love fill you in ways they never could before you reached out for help.
God is good. He is the ultimate helper. Say yes to Him!
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