Sharing Our Mess

Asking For Help 4

We want people to believe that we are living the dream, don’t we? We post pictures of our best times, looking like our best selves, and tend to only give our audience enough information and glimpses into our lives that will lead them to believe that we have it all together. We meet for coffee with old friends and give them the highlight reel, sharing about all the good and wonderful in our lives. We desire to come across like the self-assured and independent women that we are.

Believe me when I say, you are that woman. You are strong, unique and capable of so very much. However, those qualities, those amazing ones that make you the self-sufficient and undaunted woman that you are, are qualities that can sometimes work against you in the messier moments of life–when circumstances get overwhelming, when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s incredibly difficult for me to ask for help, and I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that. Conversely, I love being asked to help. I love being the capable one, the rescuer who is there in a flash, the one who brings a meal or who offers a shoulder to cry on. Although, when it comes to reaching out and asking help for myself? That’s not so easy. For a long time I found myself suffering quietly rather than wanting to risk giving up the illusion that I had my life together. That is no way to live, for when we isolate in our own self-sufficient bubbles we miss out on one of life’s greats joys: community.

It’s difficult to ask for help because many think it’s a sign of weakness or incompetency. We don’t want to impose on our friends and family. We don’t like to feel indebted or incapable, and we certainly don’t like to surrender control.  The concept of self-help is so prevalent in our culture. We’d rather read a book on how to help ourselves instead of reaching out to a friend or making an appointment with a counselor. It’s so hard for us to be vulnerable.

Yet, the truth that we need to really understand and take to heart is that asking for help is not a deficiency.  You can still be a strong, intelligent and capable woman and let others in to the messier parts of life. Asking for help is actually a sign of self-assurance. It’s a sign that we’re confident enough in ourselves, our experiences and our relationships to accept that life isn’t perfect all of the time. It’s okay to admit to our weakness, its what makes us stronger in the end. It’s in the times of struggle and uncertainty that we have the opportunity to find out who we really are and what we’re really made of. When we allow ourselves to accept help from others, we feel less alone. It keeps us honest and connected to our communities and the people who love us the most. Let us not be too proud to receive, but rather, invite others in to our messy moments. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable with your community. Be strengthened by the help that you receive.

Image via Matchbook

Erin Willis-McNeely is a currently a Masters student in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theologically Seminary. When she is not a slave to the schoolbooks, she is a newlywed, a nanny, a music lover and a mama to one crazy puppy.

3 COMMENTS
  • Sarah February 2, 2017

    I really feel this one. Not asking for help makes you so alone and you feel like you’re carrying a huge burden all on your own. I have lots of trouble reaching out in general. Making friends seems to get harder the older I get, yet I feel the need for true, strong friendships even more. It’s so easy to become isolated little islands in adulthood.

  • Rachel December 10, 2013

    So true. I am really working on reaching out when I need something and being honest about my situation with those I love and trust.

  • Evelyn November 25, 2013

    It’s true. It’s so hard to ask for help in case you are seen as incompetent. More so I feel when you’re a mother. You’re meant to be the corner-stone, the beacon for the family, and to admit that you need help to manage your children and run a household and/or work almost feels like admitting defeat.

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