As a culture, we’re not encouraged to ask for help. It’s often seen as admirable to take on more than is expected of you and keep a very busy schedule — almost as if being busy or worn out is a badge of honor. But asking for help is not a bad thing. In fact, as Christians, we are called to work together and bear one another’s burdens. It’s part of who we are as the body of Christ. After all, if we fill our lives with to-dos, we have little margin for unexpected opportunities to love and serve others well, which is our mission as followers of Christ.
It happens to all of us, though. We take on too much, or a life event throws us for a loop — and we just need help. Here are some ways to know when you need help and how to ask for it.
Ask for Help When…
– You feel you no longer have time for the things that matter most. Your family and your relationship with God should be the priorities. Take a look at your calendar and your day-to-day experiences. Are you losing margin for the components that actually matter? Talk to your spouse and children. Do they miss you or feel you haven’t been fully present lately?
– You need time to reflect. It is healthy to take time to grieve or reflect when a life-rocking event occurs and knocks your feet out from under you. Work obligations and daily to-dos begin to fade in comparison to spending time grieving or reflecting on the situation, whether just with God or alongside your loved ones.
– You feel pressure of the weight of the world on your shoulders. Though many of us feel at times the fate of everyone around us depends on our ability to succeed in one area or another, the truth of it is — it doesn’t. Most of the time, the world will keep on spinning just as it did before without our help. And that can bring great relief if you let it.
How to Ask for Help…
– Be honest. Your friends and family love you unconditionally. They will not judge you for not being Superwoman (or Superman). We are all humans who fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) — who sin daily and fail often. Don’t try to manipulate someone into helping you. Just explain the situation and ask. The worst they can say is “no,” after all.
– Be specific. People who love you want to help you, especially during difficult seasons. You just have to tell them how to do it. Try to think of a tangible way they can help. Would it be helpful for them to run an errand for you? Bring a meal? Babysit? If it’s work-related, how can you delegate? Determine who might have capacity and ability to do the task and then respectfully ask. If you are constantly overwhelmed at work, it might be time to have a discussion with a superior about expectations and capacity.
– Be brave. Trust your loved ones enough to say “no” if they don’t want to help or can’t. Don’t feel like you have to hedge your request or tiptoe around it. It can be hard to ask for help if it feels like a sign of weakness to you, but it’s actually stronger to know your limitations and work together with others to get things done. Plus, it builds community, which we are called to live in as believers as well.
Remember, no one has it all together — despite what social media may tell us. We all need help and can help one another as we walk through life together.