I once jumped off a cliff. It was at a swimming hole in the national forest, and to be totally cliche, “everyone was doing it.” I had arrived late and missed the instructions on where to jump. When I got there, all the other camp counselors were happily swimming and I stepped cautiously out onto the edge of the great precipice, glanced over the ledge, and jumped straight down.
I winced in pain at the impact of my foot against the shallow landing. I tried to ignore it as we hiked back to our cars, embarrassed at my own miscalculation. Back at camp, we returned to our assignments and still, I hid my pain. I continued to walk on my injury for weeks as it worsened. Finally, noticing I could no longer put weight on it, my roommate told the camp director. He whisked me off to the urgent care, where I was wrapped, given crutches, and charged to “stay off of it” for the rest of the summer. I was forced to swallow my pride, drive a golf cart up and down the mountain, and employ friends and even my own campers for tasks as simple as carrying my tray at mealtimes. I felt helpless.
Asking for help has never been my forte. I dread interrupting others to burden them. But we shoulder invisible burdens with problems we cannot solve alone. These burdens can be released if only we ask for help. When God provides wisdom in our time of need, it reinforces our faith to continue to ask Him for help.
Asking for help builds community by opening doors for others to contribute and serve. It can expose a problem that others didn’t know existed, instead of shouldering the problem alone. By sharing, we receive input from multiple perspectives on how to best solve it.
Being vulnerable strengthens relationships. It shows others (and reminds you) that you are not perfect and do not have to uphold that standard for yourself. Our witness is bolstered when we allow others to see God’s helping hand as we proclaim Psalm 121: 2, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (NIV).”
God faithfully sends help when we feel too weak to move forward, too weak to help ourselves. How affirming it is to be the one who offers help, to serve with the gifts God uniquely designed for you! We show God’s love to others when we serve them. God has given us unique gifts to help and serve. In giving, we allow what we may perceive as our own gifts from Him to become His gifts to others.
When we humbly approach the Lord in prayer, we draw on our faith to trust that He’ll help, even if it is beyond the scope of our limited understanding. He promises to deliver us in our times of trouble. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4, NIV).”
What gifts would we miss by not asking for help? What lessons would we learn? What rest would restore us if only we open ourselves to receiving help? What relationships would we gain through the connection of vulnerability and service?
Consider areas of your life where you need God’s holy wisdom. How could you ask for help to lighten your load during this season?
Whether you are in a season of abundance or a season of need, consider the ways in which you can extend help to others, and don’t hesitate to be the one to ask.
Written by Ashley Bartley
Ashley Bartley is a wife, mom to three small boys, and an elementary school counselor in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She writes @TendingWild on Instagram and blogs at ashleybartley.com, where she encourages women to create a habit of pause in every small, great, and wild moment.