Give us aid against our enemy, for human help is worthless. Psalm 60:11
In the asking-for-help department, most of us struggle to do it. We all know we should do it more. Often we settle with just being bad at it. For some, it is born out of pain and disappointment in the past. For others, you grew up in a family culture that modeled a “pull your self up by your bootstraps” attitude.
In times of distress, asking for help can be strangely more difficult. It really should be the time we are most prone to reach out.
I remember a very humbling period of my life where I had to face this choice. I was single and very poor. Not, “I can only drive a Honda and not an Audi” poor. But actual, “I can’t afford rent let alone food poor”.
Each day I would wake up and try to figure out how I could patch together three meals, if possible. I stole meals at the student campus where I worked (another story, but yes, I ate and did not pay). I visited friends around the dinner hour. I declared myself on a 40 Day Fast! (my friends were so impressed at my spirituality, they didn’t know it was a money saving campaign). I tried my best to figure out the cheapest food possible. Things got quite desperate and when all was said and done I had to do the very worst thing imaginable.
I asked for help.
Living in South Africa at the time, I went to a local friend. Reluctantly and embarrassingly I laid out my whole situation to her. I didn’t mention the stealing or non-spiritual 40 Day Fast, just the dire lack of money. She herself had grown up in real poverty and just looked at me and calmly said, “Well, first of all, Americans are terrible at cooking on a budget, your people eat too much meat and waste money on sugary snacks. You’ll have to learn to cook like an African.” I’m not making this up, she really told me that. And it was true. I had not been prepared to feed myself on very little and she helped me immensely.
There began a whole food make-over in my life. I learned how to cook in a new way. She taught me a host of other money saving changes to my life. I didn’t hit the lottery jackpot which would have been my preferred outcome. I did scrounge enough to pay back for what I stole, of that I am thankful.
I made it through that season, mostly due to my friend who helped.
I think back to those years when I read David’s words in Psalm 60, “Give me aide against my enemy for human help is worthless”. These words are not a motto to live by, they are the prayer of a man stuck in cynicism and independence.
We all feel that people are no good to us, at times. But this is not a place to dwell in, it is an expression of cynicism, perhaps hurt or even regret. God calls us to be people who actually ask for help. We are not supposed to turn to God simply because we refuse to turn to others. God wanted David to turn to Him and others for help.
The truth is, we aren’t forced out of our independence in good times. Crisis, pain, depression, and lack. These are seasons when we finally break down and say, “I need help.” For some of us, the desperation has to get really acute.
I didn’t enjoy lack of money or being able to feed myself. But, I know, apart from that situation, I would never have humbled myself and gone to a friend and said, “I can’t do it on my own.” Often my excuse was, “It’s not like I know of people who can solve my problem”. For me, the only reason I should lower myself to ask for help is if the person could solve my problem. My friend didn’t solve my problem, didn’t magically give me the money I needed or the free food I wanted. What she did was enter into my problem, walked along side me, was a faithful presence with me. I’m forever grateful God used that situation to push me towards others (and learning a new way to live).
If you are in a time of emotional, physical or spiritual difficulty. Reach out to God, he is our ever-present help in time of need. Don’t stop there, though, perhaps God is using this season to shout from the roof-tops, “Reach out to others. Humble yourself! Admit your need! Ask for help!”
Maybe you are like me and wouldn’t learn this truth any other way.
Bonus Resource: You might be someone who struggles to find the words on what you are going through, name the season you are in or just express yourself to others. I am that way. One tool I really love is the “Wheel of Emotions”. Those who know me, know I sure do love the wheel! This might be helpful for you in identify what you are going through, as a tool for journaling or just asking yourself, “what the heck am I feeling right now!?”Feel free to save it and print it out for your own use!