Asking for Help When You’re the “Strong One”

If you’re like me you have been described as “so strong”, tough, or capable of overcoming anything that comes your way. These descriptions wouldn’t be wrong, either. For a long time, I prided myself on my strength and ability to remain resilient during life’s hard times. I found my way to calm waters or a safe harbor in many of the turbulent tides life often surrounds us with. In most of these situations I didn’t have to ask for help because the need was obvious. Divorce, illness, unemployment – these are all situations that people recognize and offer to help in some way, small or large.

But what do you do when you could really use some help but just don’t know how to ask for it? Humans often take their friendships and support systems for granted. For the most part they are always just “there” and often do what they’re supposed to do, in their respective roles, without having to be prompted. Sometimes the things we need help with prevent our help from coming to us, rendering most of us “strong” people in a conundrum. We don’t know how to ask for help or reach out. It’s a blow to our self-esteem and makes us feel weak. I don’t know about you but I am not particularly fond of feeling weak or vulnerable, but I also dislike not getting feedback or advice when it’s needed most.

Overcoming this fear, yes, fear of asking for help is anything but easy. It actually takes practice, rehearsing in your head, and making a plan of execution. Before any of that can even happen we have to recognize and accept that we need help; which is exhausting all on its own. I know to some this may sound like a lot of work for something that most people do without too much thought. Oh how I wish asking for help was more automatic or kicked in with auto-pilot type features when necessary.

Over the last 18 months I have had to learn to recognize, admit, and accept help from others. This ranges from my parents, friends, people at church, and at times God. Luckily, God knows our hearts and needs without words needing to be spoken. Psalm 34:18 (ESV) assures us that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” We don’t even have to speak a word but when we do take that time to pray, to speak to God one-on-one, we can be even more assured “And this is the confidence we toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Family and friends are great when the problem is familiar and tangible, but when problems take  on less noticeable attributes there is One that knows our needs before we do. This is probably why our friends and family are so keen at just being there when we need them. However, we it feels like we’ve been forgotten maybe that’s God’s way of letting us know that we just need to take that time to turn our heads to heaven an make that direct connection with the One who connects us all.

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