Nearly 10 years ago, I suffered a stroke. In less than an hour after initial symptoms, I received heparin, a powerful blood thinner, which caused the clot to break free, allowing blood flow to resume. This meant my motor and cognitive functions and vision weren’t permanently impaired. I still dealt with lingering neurological effects for several months—basically my short-term memory packed up and left for an extended vacation.
During this time period, I needed lots and lots of help.
- My husband, Bret, deserved any and all Best Husband awards that year for his ongoing patience with me and for taking on most of my roles and tasks, in addition to his own.
- My kids stepped up as well. At 12, 9 and 8, they had learned enough about being responsible to take on extra chores and help me in my physical and mental recovery.
- Family and friends rallied around me, offering meals, rides, help with kids, you name it. Special angels even helped box up and put away all of our Christmas decorations—which is no small task, as I’m sure you know.
Though I’ve been an awfully self-sufficient person throughout my life, God taught me a particularly valuable lesson in the aftermath of that health crisis: Don’t try to do life on your own. Admit when you need help. Proverbs 17:17 says it well: A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need (NLT).
Oftentimes, others are just waiting to be asked. They may not even know you have a need; otherwise, they would quickly rush to meet it. Plus, we can rob those who love us of the opportunity to exercise their spiritual gifts if we refuse to ask for help.
The body of Christ suffers under the façade of stoicism and I-can-do-it-on-my-own. In truth, we can’t. We need to be surrounded by others who can lift us up, provide practical help, pray for us, and speak encouraging words when we need it/them.
Are you like I was? Stoic? Certain you have everything under control at all times. Hesitant to ask for help because you might appear weak? Why rob yourself—and those who love you—of the blessing of ministering and being ministered to? If God designed us for community, he must have had good reasons. One is the idea of offering and receiving help.
No matter what season we’re currently in—giving or receiving that help—we share in God’s abundance and great blessings when we help one another.