Gearing Up for the New Year: Accepting Help

We all need community, both with God and with others. For our mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well as for practical reasons. We aren’t meant to do life alone.

This applies to your goals and dreams as much as anything else. Many of us (perhaps all of us) feel uncomfortable asking others for help, though our reasons may vary. Pride, fear of rejection, not wanting to feel like a burden, sheer stubbornness — whatever is keeping you from letting others in, it’s time to let go of it.

In Galatians 6:2, we are encouraged to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul reminds us that we are all part of the body of Christ. In keeping with that metaphor, he declares “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you” (v. 21). Indeed, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (v.26).

In this week’s devotionals, we explored other verses that discuss where, why, and how to get the help you need to succeed. Here’s what we talked about:

Looking to God

As Christians, we know our primary source of help, support, guidance, and encouragement should be God. Again and again, Scripture underscores that our strength and wisdom come from God.

Of course, it’s easy to forget that. The people of Israel — who witnessed miracle after miracle on their journey to the Promised Land — forgot too. Psalm 106:10-13 recounts the parting of the Red Sea and Israel’s persistent lack of faith: “So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left. Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.”

As 2020 approaches, let’s determine not to make the same mistake as Israel.

Action step: Look to God first for help, seek His will, and follow His counsel — remembering what He has done in the past and trusting Him to continue providing the strength and wisdom we need.

Learning to Delegate

In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro observes Moses spending an entire day judging the people and asks what he is doing. Moses answered, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 

Sounds good, right? The problem is, Moses was only one person — a real, human person with physical limitations. Knowing this, Jethro bluntly declares, “What you are doing is not good.” He knows if Moses continues this way, he’ll burn himself out, so he tells Moses to find some good men and make them judges. “So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace” (v. 22-23).

I promise, when you do it well, delegation isn’t laziness. It’s an investment in yourself and in others, and it frees you up to focus on the things that only you can do.

Action step: Look for things you can take off your plate. Some things you may be able to drop entirely. Or you may just need to find some help. It could be as simple as assigning your children a few extra chores or asking a friend to co-lead a ministry you’re running. 

Finding Community

After calling down fire from heaven in 1 Kings 18, Elijah receives a threat from Queen Jezebel and flees into the desert, where he asks God to let him die. Why? Because he felt alone: “The people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Elijah felt alone. But he wasn’t. Not only was God Himself with Elijah, but the Lord assured him that there were 7,000 other people in Israel who had never bowed to a false god. In fact, a few verses later, God brought Elijah to the man who would become his friend, helper, and spiritual successor — Elisha. Not only did God give Elijah direction when he needed it, but he also pointed the prophet toward something we all need: community.

Action step: Ask God to show you others who have walked or are walking the same path. Find a Facebook group, an in-person support group, a mentoring program, a life group, a club, or a Bible study group. Plug into your local church. Be intentional about finding people who can empathize, challenge, and support you. Find community.

ASking For ADvice

Just before reminding us that “with God are wisdom and might; He has counsel and understanding,” Scripture declares that “wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days” (Job 12:12-13). We are encouraged not only to ask for God’s guidance through prayer but also to seek counsel from wise friends.

Sharing our dreams and goals with other people and asking for advice can be scary, but we cannot afford to skip this step. In Proverbs, we are told that “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed.” When we dream and plan in a vacuum, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. 

Action step: Push past the discomfort and do the wise thing. Bring in some counselors — from close friends and family to a professional life coach, therapist, or mentor — and ask for advice when you need it (and even when you think you don’t).

Bringing a Friend

You’ve heard the saying, “That’s what friends are for.” But how often are we tempted to go it alone anyway?

None of us wants to feel like a burden, but friends who disappear during hard times aren’t friends at all. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Give your friends a chance to show up for you. Include them in your goals and plans.

It’s important to choose your friends wisely, but then once you have, it’s equally important to let them help you. Invite them to walk alongside you. Let them be there to cheer you on, offer advice, and lend a hand. Plus, working towards your goals — like many things in life — is just more fun with a friend.

Action step: As you chase your goals, bring some friends along for the journey. Ask for help when you need it, and trust them to support you.

As you work toward your goals, it’s important to actively seek and accept help — whether that means asking someone to babysit your kids for a few hours each week while you work on your novel, asking someone you admire to be your mentor, or asking a friend to be your gym buddy or accountability partner.

This weekend, think about what kind of help you might need to reach your goals in 2020. What can your friends and family do to support you? Who will you ask for help? What resources are available to you? What tools and strategies can you use to make life easier? How can you make sure you’re regularly inviting and accepting God’s counsel and strength?

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