Just ask my husband Ike and he’ll tell you–I live for the summer. I am a warm climate kind of girl. Especially up here in arctic Illinois where the winters feel like an eternity. When the summer FINALLY rolls around, I am ready. I love the heat, the extra hours of daylight, the lazy weekends, the smell of fresh cut grass, and even the humidity.
Summer is my time of year.
Except for this summer. This summer stunk.
It began with a trip to the ER and the removal of my gallbladder. It ended with us temporarily leaving our house and staying in different people’s homes–all while our son was teething. I can’t go into the details about why we left our house, but let’s just say it’s been a bad summer.
Throughout our trials, God has been teaching me many, many things (I kinda wish He’d stop!). Just one of those lessons, one that we had to learn fast, was the importance of asking for help.
The first time I needed help was post-surgery. I couldn’t lift Isaac for a few weeks, so my mother-in-law flew in to help us. I felt bad asking her on such short notice but we needed her, and her presence was a huge gift.
Later in the summer we needed a place to stay, so we turned to our church for help. Thankfully, we were connected with a delightful family who opened their home to me, Ike, our 12 month old son, and our dog–and with only a couple days notice. We didn’t know them, but when we landed there like frazzled refugees, they embraced us like friends.
I could go on about the many ways people helped us this summer, but suffice it to say that we had to rely on the help of others time and time again.
And let me tell you, it was humbling. I find it especially hard to rely on people outside my family. If you aren’t a close friend or family member, I feel embarrassed asking you for something, even if it’s something I desperately need.
But here’s the thing–I have learned that asking for help isn’t merely wise. Asking for help is a Christian discipline.
At the heart of the Christian faith is a recognition of need. To be a Christians means we acknowledge our insufficiency and cast ourselves upon the mercy of God. We are broken people in need of grace, so dependence on Christ–and his church–is a way of life. The entire Christian journey is fueled by our continual surrender to the one who saves.
And yet, the sinful flesh wants to be self-sufficient. For many of us, it is hard to accept anyone’s help, let alone God’s. My pride will not allow it. I want to be independent. I don’t want to seem weak. I don’t want to be a burden. I want to save myself.
That’s why asking for help is something I must practice. It’s a Christian habit of the soul. When I willingly accept help, I shape my heart to humbly rely on the ultimate Helper.
In that regard, asking for help is a Christian discipline. It’s hard, but it keeps us connected to others, and it primes our spirits for dependence on God.
I hope you will remember that the next time you need help. If you find your spirit resisting the help of a friend or neighbor, remember that self-reliance is no Christian virtue. God created you to depend on Him, and on others.
And as strange as it sounds, that kind of good dependence must be learned.