I read a wonderful article today that I wanted to share…
I used to joke all the time about the Proverbs 31 woman. I used to say, “You know, if I had a few servant girls to help me out, I think I too might be able to get a lot more done around here.”
But you know what?
It’s really not funny. It’s not funny at all. It’s completely true. And you know what else?
It’s completely BIBLICAL.
It used to be that servants were a societal norm, even many “poor” people budgeted money to pay neighbor girls or older women to come and help them and many older and younger women used to volunteer to help those mothers too poor to hire someone as a simple act of love. As I mentioned in another post recently, it seems that we’ve allowed and expected the government to take over our “charitable” work, and that extends far beyond financial help (although that was primarily what my last post was about.)
I find that I’m just as much at fault as anyone in this regard… I can’t think of the last time I went over to someone’s house just to help them. I always had this idea that when my kids were old enough, I’d start sending them to neighbors or friends houses so they could help around the house or yard. Now, I have two girls who are old enough and we don’t do this nearly often enough.
Of course, they’re pretty helpful to have around here, since they all have chores and responsibilities, but I really think there is something special about leaving your own home to help someone else. It’s a different kind of servitude, and a different kind of love. What my children do out of obligation here, they do out of love somewhere else (I know, because they love helping clean and doing other odd jobs at other people’s houses and don’t show nearly as much enthusiasm at home!)
I’m also guilty of not admitting that I need help. Oh, every now and then I’ll ask someone to help me with something, but most of the time I’ll keep chugging along alone, doing my best to keep my head above water and meals on the table. Mostly because I’m embarrassed of the piles of clutter all over the house, the bathtub that hasn’t been cleaned in months, and the interesting species of mold growing in the far corners of the kitchen cabinets.
Because, really, it’s not that I’m a complete slob (although I do admittedly tend toward messiness and disorganization), a lot of times I’m just so completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what NEEDS to be done, that I don’t do ANY of it (and if you’re a long time reader and you seem to recall that I’d overcome this problem, it pains me to admit that since our last baby was born, I just haven’t been able to get back to my filing system, for many different reasons.)
But it’s not just embarrassment that keeps me (and, I’d imagine, many people) from asking for help, it’s also simple pride (which, I guess, is the underlying cause of the embarrassment.) I’m too prideful to admit that I need help most of the time, and I can’t imagine asking (or letting) someone take time out of THEIR busy day to come and help ME. And when it does happen, I often feel bad about it. Why is that?
Why do we have such a hard time admitting we need help?
Why do we feel “less than” if we can’t do it all on our own?
Why are we afraid of being a burden to the people who love us and WANT to help us?
Why do we want to put up a front?
Why are we so afraid to ASK?!
And why is it that so many single women, or women whose children are grown don’t volunteer to help? I’d imagine the reason is twofold. First, many have jobs and church activities and Saturday night outings with friends that keep them too busy to help those around them in any meaningful way. But even more than that, I think that many are either afraid to suggest helping those around them for fear they’ll offend someone, or don’t bother asking anymore because everyone says “no” when they do… for all the reasons listed above. A friend once told me that by refusing help, we were denying others the blessing of actively loving us. He was talking about finances, but his words have always stuck with me. Isn’t it the same, when it comes to physical help?
Why can we ask for and accept so-called “spiritual” help (ie prayer) so easily, but balk at other forms of help when it’s offered? Isn’t it funny that we can ask for prayer regarding finances or housework or raising our kids, but refuse to accept help in these same areas?
The author of the article writes:
I will pray that God sends help to others who desperately need it. Even if you don’t think you can, if you think there is anyone you can possibly ask to help you out here and there, please do not be afraid to ask. Many times people do not realize how much we are struggling.
I add to that prayer… that those of you who are struggling will be willing to accept that help. Yes, it will probably be embarrassing, and it will probably hurt a little. As the author also writes:
We need to acknowledge that our many failures only solidify our desperate need for Jesus.