Who does not struggle with asking for help, at least occasionally? When I need to message my supervisor with a work problem, I put it off for at least a few minutes because I hate bothering her so much. When I am overwhelmed, I hate asking Eric for help because I am “supposed” to be able to do it all (and I know he is busy too).
Part of the fear of asking for help comes from the underlying fear of rejection. What if they clearly do not want to help me and they do it because they feel obligated? Another large factor is pride. Pride has plagued humanity since Adam and Eve ate the fruit because the serpent told them “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5b, ESV) The core of humanity without Christ is the intense desire to be our own god, make our own rules, and need only ourselves.
Because of our fallen nature, asking for help is difficult and awkward, especially at first; but it is good for our hearts, and good for our partners and friends to have opportunities to be helpful. Thankfully, it becomes more natural the more we do it.
Words of Wisdom
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV)
Which words of wisdom do you remember most from your grandparents? My grandma used to say several phrases repeatedly, one of them being, “Would you deprive me of a blessing?” with the implication that God blesses those who give. People always tried to make her life easier, but she was desperate to help and to feel, and be, needed.
Many of us struggle with asking for help in our jobs, in our homes, and in all areas of life; but, people need to give help just as people need to receive help. So, in asking others for their help, we are giving them an opportunity to be blessed. We are also opening the door for them to ask us for help in the future, thus building relational intimacy.
Reasons to Ask for Help in Your Relationship
- It creates bonding experiences. Creating a bonding experience more has to do with how we ask our partners for help. If we struggle with a task for ten minutes and then annoyingly yell out, “Hey, you wanna help me, or what?!”… such does not create a bonding experience (quite the opposite, actually). But, if we approach him or her peacefully and ask, “Would you have a few minutes to help me with something?”, we create the opportunity for a sweet experience and memory.
- It shows your partner you need him or her. Most of us need to be needed; and if our partners do not need us, we feel obsolete. Even when we are busy and feel annoyed at having to stop and assist each other, the alternative is heartbreaking. If Eric ever stopped needing me, I would battle depression and likely look for ways to be useful outside of the relationship.
- It softens your heart towards your partner. When we have company coming, I often ask Eric to vacuum Ramsey’s fur off the couches. It seems like a small job, but she sheds on them like it is her fulltime job. When Eric helps me with this finishing touch, it does soften my heart. The longer I go without asking for his help, the more hardened I feel towards him. I guess it is tied to my sin nature and dysfunctional belief: “I do not need anybody’s help.”
- Practically, you get more done! God said that it is not good for man to be alone. He created men and women to need each other. Working together, couples get more done than if they try to go at projects alone.
- It helps you practice humility. Assuming you ask kindly, asking for help shows a willingness to be humble which is very important in your walk with God and in your relationship with your significant other or spouse.
Reasons to Ask for Help Outside of Your Relationship
- It frees people to ask for your Others are more likely to ask for your help if you have asked for their help. It opens opportunities to deepen friendship.
- It shows you as an approachable person. Who are you more likely to invite to a cookout? The neighbor who asked you to help carry a piece of furniture into his house or the neighbor who rarely speaks and appears completely self-sufficient.
- It bonds the body of Christ. When brothers and sisters in Christ come together and help each other, it deepens the love and connection within the local body of believers. (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
- It opens the door to share the Gospel. The request for help first creates a connection with another. Then, once we make that connection, we have a clearer path share the Gospel.
- It is a practice of humility, just as it is in your romantic relationship. As I mentioned before, my grandma always wanted to help, and our family and friends rarely let her. To them, receiving her help felt like taking advantage of an older lady. I remember the desperate look in her eyes when she asked if she could pay for something. Occasionally, I let her pay for our dinner. Let me tell you, it was so hard for me, but she felt amazing and she beamed.
With the focus of intentionality, start looking for opportunities to ask for help. Instead of waiting until you need help, groaning internally, and then begrudgingly seeking assistance from someone nearby, look for (or create) openings.
- Hey, would you mind running me to my mechanic on Tuesday to pick up my truck?
- I am throwing a baby shower for my cousin this Saturday. If I purchase the ingredients, would you be able to make that amazing cheesecake you brought to the last Christmas party?
- Can you help me hang this picture when you get off work today?
In addition to being needed, we all like to be appreciated. So, when asking for help, let us be mindful of others’ time, careful in how we ask, and always openly grateful when they help us! So, go forth and ask for help this week, and notice how doing so affects your relationships and your heart.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2, ESV)
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6b, ESV)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8, ESV)
How will you ask your significant other, friend, or neighbor to help you this week?