Over the past several months, I have realized two very important truths about myself:
- I need help.
- I never ask for help.
As you can imagine, these two ideas do not play well together.
So when I say, “I need help,” what do I mean? In what areas of my life do I need help? The short answer: all of them. All of the areas.
At home, I need help learning how to be the leader of my family, both practically and spiritually. I need help figuring out how best to relate to my wife and kids, each of whom has very different wants and needs. When my kids break the rules, I need help responding with love and grace instead of anger. When I’m exhausted after a long day at work, I need help finding the energy to be fully present for my family, instead of doing what I sometimes want to do. (Which would be finding a secluded spot in my house and reading a book or playing a mindless game on my phone, all while sitting in complete and total silence. You other introverts know what I’m talking about.)
At work, I need help figuring out how to juggle all my tasks and responsibilities. I need help pulling my head out of the day-to-day busyness every once in a while so I can take a look at the bigger picture. I need help remembering that my co-workers aren’t just people that I happen to see every day, but that I’m supposed to be in relationship with them, loving and serving them as Jesus would.
Personally, I need help remembering that, in order to serve God to the best of my ability, I need to take care of myself, making sure to get enough rest, eat healthfully and get some exercise. And I constantly need help remembering the fact that working at a church is in no way a substitute for spending time growing closer to God through Bible study and prayer.
So, with all that going on, why in the world wouldn’t I ask for help? I think there’s an easy answer and a hard one. The easy answer is that I’m too busy. Look, I know that everybody is busy these days. But I suspect that most busy people also secretly believe that they’re busier than everybody else. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just me.
Now for the harder answer: I’m prideful. I’ve just started figuring this out for myself. I have always equated pridefulness with boastfulness. Since I’m not really boastful, I can’t really be prideful, right? Wrong! I regularly convince myself that I can handle everything going on in my life — all the things I mentioned earlier, and so much more — all by myself. That’s pride. And if I do admit that I need help, I still don’t ask for it, because asking for help has always felt to me like a form of failure. And I hate failing. More pride. Worst of all, trying to do everything on my own directly contradicts what the Bible teaches us. So, basically, I’m saying that I know better than God, the omniscient creator of the universe, who has always been and will always be. Dude, that’s some next-level super-pride right there.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
— Proverbs 3:5–8
Not only did God send himself to us as a savior, in the form of his Son, he then delivered himself to us again as a Helper, in the form of the Holy Spirit.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
— John 14:26
Clearly, I’m still pretty new at this whole “asking the Holy Spirit for help” business. I couldn’t find any Bible verses that said anything like, “And lo, the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, granting you remarkable efficiency, making you really good at checking items off your to-do list and stuff.” Trust me, I looked. But God’s holy Word does teach us this:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…
— Galatians 5:22–23
Just from my limited experience, I can absolutely tell you that the love of the Spirit helps me relate to my family. The joy of the Spirit helps me have the energy to give them the attention they need, even after an exhausting day. The peace of the Spirit helps quiet my anxiety, allowing me to focus better on my tasks and responsibilities. And the list goes on.
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, ready to give us all the help we need. We just have to ask for it.