Being the recipient of a helping hand is not always easy – especially when you are the type of person who loves to be the helping hand for someone else. I’ve had to accept help (of so many forms) more times in the past few years than I care to admit. Through the repeated process of needing help and having to accept help, God has humbled me and taught me more about how this life works.
During times of illness is when I most need a helping hand. It used to really bother me when people helped me out during such times, even though I knew they meant well, I needed it, and was incredibly grateful. God showed me during Joash’s pregnancy that my resistance to help was prideful. Prideful! Can you believe that? Me not wanting to be a burden to those around me was [for me] a pride issue!
I didn’t want people to realize that I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t want people to realize how difficult it is for me to do anything when I am fatigued to tears. I didn’t want people to know that Malachi basically survived on Cheerios and cookies during my sick weeks of Joash’s pregnancy. I didn’t want people to pity the fact that I rarely made it to the kitchen to cook the first three weeks following Joash’s birth.
Did you know that God doesn’t ask any of us to do this life on our own? Besides the help of His Spirit, He specifically placed our lives right where we are so we can help specific people and be helped by specific people. I’ve found this to be true in many seasons of life, not just in illness. It is no mistake that there are people around you who are able, ready, and willing to lend a helping hand when the need arises.
This being said – there is an extreme of accepting help that we never want to visit: taking advantage of those around us. God placed us around each other to bear one another’s burdens, but He still instructs each of us to work for our food, to keep our own home, and to serve our own families. Even though I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it, I am careful not to voice every need the Joshua Ormsby family has, lest I fall prey to a temptation to use people. The very thought of being that kind of person horrifies me – yet, I still am diligent to guard against using people…because only a foolish person assumes “I would never do that”.
Josh and I delight in serving others and we do whatever we can for others anytime we are able. However, I am learning to accept the seasons where I am the needy recipient instead of the giver as simply part of God’s way, part of His plan of sowing and reaping. I also proactively teach Malachi (and soon enough, Joash) to serve others, even if it’s starting with something small like helping his daddy throw the trash away. Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38), and such a life is what we strive after.
Today, as I have done, consider your own attitude towards accepting help. Let people minister to you. Let people be a blessing to you in times of need. And, in turn, look for ways to bear someone else’s burden. The fruit of living this way is something we can look forward to in Heaven!