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Why Accepting Help Builds Community

13 Apr

Oh my goodness! Did I just type the words “accepting help”? Did that make some of you cringe? I’m unfurrowing my brow right now as I read over it. It makes me want to scurry like a scared mouse into the nearest hole in my relationship wall and hide in the sideboards.

Why Accepting Help Builds Community

But what are the sideboards, really?

I would like to suggest they are pride!

A few weeks ago, I posted this little goody on social media:

Writing a blog about how letting someone help us is building community. I’m working on letting people help. It builds into trust and relationship.

Aren’t good intentions the best things ever?

But then pride sat back down on my head (actually, it rather roughly plopped itself there), and I thought: I’ll write that later. I have one inspired thought. Who is going to care?

Then, suddenly, it was Good Friday, and I shared on social media how I came slamming into Holy Week(end) fully unprepared:

I was not in any way prepared for Easter other than my heart. I had no groceries, no plans, no clean house, and frankly, I was tearfully overwhelmed by the thought of prep and clean-up when our lives have been so hectic and full of nonstop medical appointments in this season. We never have family with us, and the holidays can be a time I feel very sad about that, even though 22 years into this gig, I should be more used to it. But I’m not, and it makes me crazy-sad every holiday. I didn’t feel strengthened to have someone over this year. So off I went to Good Friday service, asking God for a good plan. A dear woman (and new friend) sitting in front of me turned around and greeted me. The next thing out of her mouth was: “Would your family want to come over for Easter dinner?” What now? What did you say? I almost wept at the kindness, and relief swept over me as I thought about how that is the mission of Jesus: to reach out and lift up—to something we didn’t earn but just because He loves us and He came to wash our feet. I come to the cross renewed, refreshed, and so incredibly humbled that He answered the tiny, seemingly insignificant prayer of one of His daughters who merely felt wrung out and laid my trust upon His feet. Happy Easter! I cannot wait to celebrate the resurrected Christ!

So, a bit more humbled now, I am right back where I started: accepting help.

Here were my (wrong) preconceived notions:

  • Accepting help makes me weak.
  • I can never repay the other person.
  • I’m a taker, freeloader, a person who takes advantage of people.
  • People will see me differently now that I am in need.

Sound familiar? Do you ever hear those taunts in your own mind?

Then I started to reflect on how I feel when people let me into their lives and receive my genuine love, care, and interest in helping them:

  • That I am strong and/or safe enough to help carry their burdens for a little while
  • That I love to give and be allowed to do so, expecting nothing in return
  • That they have confidence in me
  • That they trust me

See what I’m getting at here?

So, when I withhold the blessing from someone to build into my life and offer assistance, I really have a two-way problem, don’t I? I miss the chance to take a risk and be vulnerable, humbling myself, and I simultaneously rob them of the incredible experience that can only come from being trusted with a need.

Granted, not everyone can be trusted. We need to exercise discernment, but if we offer someone the chance to love us in a way that reaches in, we are also extending the hand of friendship. We are building up another person, establishing trust, strengthening relationship, and increasing confidence. We are essentially saying: “You are received.”

Exodus 17:8-12, ESV, Moses narrating

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’s hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Ever feel like Moses? Need someone to hold up your hands because you are so weary? Who are your Aaron and Hur? Whom will you let grab an arm or two?

Whenever I think I am self-sufficient (which is just a myth I convince myself of), not only do I limit myself to “going it alone” when I don’t have to, but the choice to not receive help only isolates me and rejects others.

Hebrews 13:16, ESV, anonymously written

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

And for those of us who put our faith in Christ, do you see what it says here? 

Galatians 6:2, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Who am I to keep someone from pleasing God or fulfilling the law of Christ? So what are we missing when we rock it solo and independent? Well, Moses couldn’t do it alone. God offered him community. I bet those were some moments Aaron and Hur didn’t easily forget.

*This blog is a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-UpMake a Difference Mondays, A Little R & R WednesdaysSaturday Soirée Blog PartyGrace & Truthand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about faith, family, and relationships can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 
 

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8 responses to “Why Accepting Help Builds Community

  1. Mary Collins

    April 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Accepting help can be a humbling experience. I’ve had to accept help from others lately and it has been hard because I feel like such a loser for not being able to take care things myself. And, like you said, you don’t always know who can trust. I’ve helped many people in the past and gained blessing for lending a helping hand. I have learned to drop my pride and not slap the hands of those who want to help and let God work through them.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Oh, Mary, I can relate. We’re at a very humbled place in our family as well. And isn’t “feeling like a loser” exactly what the enemy of our soul wants us to believe? I hope I grow and mature in this. I want to be in a much better place accepting help even a year from now. Thank you for weighing in.

      Like

       
  2. Susan

    April 13, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Why we believe the lies that we have to have it all together, do it ourselves, or appear “strong” is beyond me. But I’ve fallen into this trap more times then I care to recount. The woman who invited your family over for dinner seems to have a knack for finding those who need help. May we all learn from her sensitive example. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Bonnie.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Hi, Susan: Yes, she is a real blessing and has the right idea about the holidays. It’s a battle every day in our culture of independence, and yet, if we look at other cultures where they encourage more sharing of roles/responsibilities in families, etc., sometimes we see healthier patterns when people are allowed to share the load for each other. Thanks for coming by “Espressos of Faith”!

      Like

       
  3. Clare Speer

    April 13, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Accepting can be humbling and difficult…. but as I get older it sure gets easier!!!! Now I welcome it – thanks for your thoughts on this issue – because I know you are truly “setting free” women in this difficult area!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 14, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, Clare. I hope that’s true. I hope my honesty will help others to let go and let others help. I’m so glad to hear it gets easier. I appreciate you coming by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂 Blessings!

      Like

       
  4. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    April 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I love this post so much!!! It can be FAR too easy to misinterpret asking for help as a sign of weakness and inherent lack of strength, but sometimes, it’s the exact opposite. Thank you for sharing this…it’s golden!

    cominguprosestheblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 14, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much, Erica! I really appreciate you coming by and encouraging me and others! You are so right…there is strength in letting others in. Blessings!

      Like

       

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