I don’t like asking for help. I don’t think most people do. Since my life became consumed by hospital stays, doctors appointments, and trying to keep two adults and one preschooler from having complete breakdowns, I have had to ask for help. And its been horrible.
Let me clarify that last sentence: the help isn’t horrible, its wonderful, amazing, and generous. But it has not been easy. It has been incredibly humbling. As I processed what chemo and the new diagnosis for Asher would mean for me and our family I knew I would have to ask for help. But even though I knew it was necessary it was still hard.
I have always been under the assumption that you only ask for help when you can’t do something. Can’t. As in absolutely CAN NOT.
So when I was asked, do you need meals? Do you need help with cleaning and laundry? Do you need a babysitter?
Need? No. So I would politely decline and then proceed to be overwhelmed and hate my life.
Very soon into this medical adventure I realized that if I were to survive, I’d ask for help. Cancer and chemo are marathons, long term adventures, not something to go away tomorrow.
But still my definition of need was off. When people asked me do I need help with something, I eventually figured out that they were not asking me if I needed them to do something for me that I could not do. Instead they want to know if they could help make my life easier, to get stuff done quicker, and to make it so I can be happier.
I don’t know exactly how this realization happened, but in true God style, as I was pondering this truth that day I happened to run into a friend in the cry room of church. He was adamant to make sure I knew that it was not only okay for me to ask for help, but that I should. That there were people, like him and his wonderful wife, who wanted to help me but I needed to let them.
Even with this change in mindset, asking for help is still such a humbling experience every single time. I don’t like to admit I can’t do it all with a smile on my face. That I can’t be Superwoman.
In reality, it is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am not Superwoman.
Take the example of my being incredibly domestically handicapped. My house is a mess. Always. And I mean, always. I am in a constant fight against clutter, dust, and dishes, and I am always losing. And yet, I am determined to pretend that I can do it myself. Determined like you wouldn’t even believe. I even clean before the house cleaner I pay to clean my home comes over, because my pride is hard hit by admitting I need help.
Asking for help does not mean you can’t do it. It does not mean you are too weak or incapable. It just means that you could use someone to shoulder a bit of your burden. We all love to help others, but for some reason are so reluctant to accept it ourselves. If you are going to be stubborn about asking for help like me, make sure you know what it really means.