The Hardest Three Words You May Ever Say

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Author
Published: Sep 18, 2018
The Hardest Three Words You May Ever Say

“I need help.”

These may be the hardest three words to say. At one time or another, all people require the assistance of other people, but we often don’t ask for it until we absolutely have no choice.

Self-reliant, “in-control” people in particular, are not good askers. Why don’t we ask for help even when we need it? Like pretty much everything else about us, it’s complicated. Here are a few reasons we avoid asking for help.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

1. We would rather be the helper than the helped.

1. We would rather be the helper than the helped.

A shift in that relationship leaves us feeling uncomfortable, and if we’re honest, powerless. Oddly, the more we need help, the harder it might be to ask because the perceived power shift becomes even greater.

2. Collaboration sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

Yes, we probably need help. But we feel like we can get it done better and faster if we do it solo. Most of us still have nightmares about leading group projects in high school and having to do most of the work ourselves anyway.

3. We are afraid of being told no.

After finally getting up the nerve to ask, we aren’t sure we could face that kind of rejection.

4. We have never liked feeling needy, weak, or incompetent.

5. Asking for help is a form of surrendering control.

If any of this describes you, be compassionate toward yourself. You might be relieved to know that you are, in fact, normal. People are skewed toward wanting to do it themselves. Walk through the doors of any bookstore and head straight to the self-help section for proof.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Asking for Help Requires Vulnerability

Asking for Help Requires Vulnerability

Asking for help requires a stripped-down vulnerability. When we ask for help, we are moving closer to an intimacy with people that feels a little dangerous. The people who come to our aid suddenly see a side of us that few get to see—the tear-streamed face, the Doritos-sprinkled kitchen floor, the hospital gown open in the back, our inability to accomplish even small tasks under stress.

It’s awkward enough to ask a stranger for a quarter to fill a parking meter. How can I ask someone to help me with my kids when it seems like every other mom has no problem keeping up with the spelling lists and healthy snacks? How can I ask someone to help on a work project when it was my own fault that I said yes? And what kind of shame will I bring upon myself when I admit to the boss that I simply can’t do it this time?

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Self-Disclosure Can Trigger Fear Inside of Us

Self-Disclosure Can Trigger Fear Inside of Us

Self-disclosure triggers a fundamental fear inside of people. If we let onlookers get too close to our truest self, they will have front-row seats to our inner wreckage. Confronted with our flawed selves, will they leave us without even a moment’s notice, embarrassed by who we’ve become? Furthermore, if we get that close to God, where we acknowledge our need of him, will we end up bitter toward him if he disappoints us? What if we can’t tolerate the times when he wrecks our flawed plans and replaces them with his?

Asking for help requires a heart-unzipped intimacy with God, who saw your need in the first place. He was waiting for you to ask. He was waiting for you to scoop up all the broken pieces of your life, lift them up to his face, and say, “Here, can you help me with this?”

God’s great promise over our lives is this: “It’s all under control.” One of the ways that God proves his promise true is by dispatching modern-day disciples. Other humans, flawed as they are, are often the means through which God will come to your aid.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Dare to Say "I Need Help"

Dare to Say "I Need Help"

I don’t know where you’re at today, friend. Do you need help? I suspect you do. Maybe you’re scared to ask. Maybe you’re worried the words will make you look weak. Maybe you don’t want to be somebody’s burden.

Dare to say the words: “I need help.”

These are the words that have saved marriages, sent addicts to treatment, ushered teens through the counselor’s doorway, and been the catalyst for a trillion prayers of all sizes. Those three words save lives and bring people to Jesus every day. Shoot, maybe your struggle is standard-issue busyness and you need someone to do your laundry this week. Ask for it.

You are not a burden. You are a person.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

Asking for Help Gives Someone an Opportunity to Change the World with Love

Asking for Help Gives Someone an Opportunity to Change the World with Love

I know what you’re thinking because I’ve been there, and yes, all of the following statements hold true: When people help you, they might not do it the way you wanted to. They might not do it as well as you would have. They might see your scrawny backside through that gap in your hospital gown. You might have to contend with that uncomfortable feeling of indebtedness. Your “helpers” might mess things up a bit, meaning your group project gets a B minus instead of an A—but you’ll still get the degree, so try to let this one slide, okay? And if some sweet mama takes your kids off your hands for a day, she might let your kids do something crazy that breaks all of the rules, like giving them ice cream for breakfast.

Asking for help also gives someone else an opportunity to do what they really want to do—which is, coincidentally, something you want to do as well: change the world with love. Helping people is more than a nice thing to do. It’s a scriptural mandate. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). You don’t want to be accused of keeping other people from fulfilling the law of Christ, do you? I didn’t think so.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

It Takes Bravery to Ask Others for Help

It Takes Bravery to Ask Others for Help

You never know what crazy things your friends will do when you ask them for help. But if you give them a chance, they might not only help you fix whatever’s broken in your life; they might bring you straight to the feet of Jesus—in the most innovative way possible.

To follow Christ has always meant helping and serving others. But it’s also humbling ourselves enough to allow others to be Christ to us, which happens in that moment when we allow ourselves to be helped.

It takes a special kind of bravery to ask others to help us.

When you say “I need help,” you’re not uttering feeble words. They may be the strongest, bravest words you ever say. You simply can’t do it all.

The truth is, you are now strong enough to admit that you can’t face your problems on your own. Look, not a single soul on earth is ever so strong that she doesn’t need someone to help. You are a wise woman, and you are smart enough to know you need some relief. You’ve known you’ve needed help for a while now, haven’t you? You just need to be courageous enough to ask for it.           


Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

SHARE

Originally published Tuesday, 18 September 2018.