Getting Help When We Need It

Getting help to address our problems can be an overwhelming prospect. Some of us haven’t a clue where to even start, so we don’t. Others would rather busy themselves with life instead of tending to their wounds. And some aren’t willing to acknowledge their weaknesses or haven’t yet realized how desperately they need help.

So how do we know it’s time to pursue help? And how do we find the courage to be transparent? Why is getting help so important to our spiritual growth?

Let’s begin with a story from nature.

Canadian geese helping five goslings by the pond
Canadian geese May 2022

Every spring, Canadian geese nest at our neighborhood pond. We always anticipate watching as they raise their babies through the summer. Then we say our goodbyes as they prepare to migrate in the fall.

A few years ago in 2018, the father goose developed a bad foot. Every time we visited the pond, we sadly watched as Daddy Goose struggled to keep up with his mate and their eight babies. One day, a caring neighbor found him lying helpless and alone on the bank and took him to the local wildlife center for rehabilitation. 

You may or may not know, but Canadian geese aren’t always easy to approach. They are frequently defensive and even aggressive, especially to protect their young. It wasn’t until Daddy Goose couldn’t survive on his own that he allowed someone to intervene. Only then could the proper people help improve his quality of life. 

So many of us are like Daddy Goose. Whether we are aware of our problem or not, we push through life with weak spiritual legs, crippling emotions, or other overwhelming physical, relational or life problems. We don’t let others get too close. And too many of us choose to suffer alone. 

Elderly man suffering with depression and needs help

This past year, I’ve spoken to more than a few people who are struggling with overwhelming issues. Some are dealing with serious addictions while others contend with crippling anxiety or depression, plethoras of medical issues, marriage strife or tragic losses. My heart breaks to see my neighbors, friends and family members struggling to survive. The sorrow only increases when they won’t admit they need support or they don’t see the value in pursuing help for themselves. 

Too many of us choose to suffer alone.

Why is Refusing Help a Problem?

It’s not always easy to accept, but Jesus teaches us in scripture that working on our issues is a priority. In Matthew 7:3 (NET), He asks us a poignant question, “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?” To me, this verse has many levels of meaning. First, it’s much easier to recognize the faults of others rather than acknowledging our own. But many times, it’s also more comfortable to help other people with their problems while ignoring our own needs.

plank or beam of lumber represents problems with which we need help

Unfortunately, I always seem to pick out others’ splinters much more easily than my own beam of lumber. Because it’s easier to focus on what’s wrong with others, we tend to neglect addressing our own weaknesses. It’s also easier for me to help other people and keep my own problems hidden from their view. 

For a long time, I disregarded my “planks.” Yet over time and through painful circumstances and events, God showed me one flaw I had was pride. An overachiever and perfectionist, I grew up very independently and strong-willed. I put a lot of confidence in my abilities and had no understanding of grace for myself or others. Regrettably, I became self-centered and judgemental and was blind to my tendencies. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit continues to do a work within me to heal these broken places.

It wasn’t until I found myself incapacitated with illness like Daddy Goose that my need for help emerged. Since autoimmune disease surfaced in 2019, I’ve finally realized how much I struggle with allowing others to assist me. Always the “helper,” I’m always looking for ways to support others who are struggling. Yet, I’ve discovered through many heavy counseling sessions that we “helpers” tend to overlook or set aside our own needs because we overly focus on taking care of other people. I’ve had to admit even recently, that I have issues with recognizing and voicing my needs.

Focusing on others’ flaws reflects a prideful heart while admitting our own faults reveals humility.

Many times, but not always, constantly focusing on others’ flaws and problems can reflect a prideful heart. Whether we mean to or not, we try to play God and fix the life or circumstances of another person. Or we develop tunnel vision and can only see other people’s issues and totally miss what God wants to heal within ourselves.

On the contrary, admitting our faults, weaknesses and needs reveals humility. It takes a lot of courage and transparency to open up to another person and admit we have a problem (or more than one).

How do we know we need help?

Since all of us have areas of weakness, we can simply start by asking God what He would like to repair within us. So the first step is recognizing we have a problem we can’t handle alone.

figure with checklist deciding if he needs help

Because it can be difficult to pinpoint our own flaws, I’ve created a checklist of questions to help narrow it down. These questions may help you identify areas of concern:

  1. Am I in conflict with one or more people on a regular basis?
  2. Am I frustrated and bitter with one or more people because I avoid conflict?
  3. Do I repeat patterns of behavior, such as lying, viewing pornography, overspending or overeating, which I know isn’t right or healthy?
  4. Do I have trouble with self-control: food, money, screen time, video games, pornograhpy, alcohol or drugs?
  5. Does anything feel out of control in my life such as emotions, relationships, finances, health or anxiety?  
  6. Am I giving God my best in all areas of my life, including time, money, entertainment, and relationships?
  7. Do I often make promises I can’t keep? If so, why?
  8. Has anyone close to me suggested I seek help, and I haven’t pursued it yet?
  9. Am I feeling overwhelmed by the problems I face?
  10. Am I feeling lonely, depressed, anxious or hopeless about my life in any area, such as work, relationships, health, finances or spirituality?

Pay close attention to how you feel when reading over this list. Did any one question elicit an emotional response? Is there a question you would prefer to skip because it’s too painful to go there? Try saying a prayer and let the Holy Spirit comfort you as He helps you identify what He wants to work on.

Keep in mind the list above is not complete and should only be used for reference.

Why is important for us to get help?

Let’s Imagine a situation for a moment.

What if you were shipwrecked on an island alone with little food and necessities? Day after day, you work hard to build a shelter and learn how to live off the land to keep yourself alive. You’re there for years just trying to survive the harsh environment.

Then one day, after you’ve realized you may not survive much longer, a boat comes ashore. It’s captain informs you the water is shallow enough near the southern tip of your island that you could’ve practically walk to the mainland, which is only a mile away. Such information would have changed the last several years of your life! But you’ve been so busy trying to survive on your own that you missed it.

a ship wrecked on an island needs help

All of us need outside voices to clarify reality. God uses other people to teach us about ourselves and refine us if we allow Him to do it. Many times though, pride prevents us from making any progress because we don’t want to reveal our weaknesses or allow others to see the ugly underneath. If we haven’t acknowledged our own shortcomings yet, we certainly don’t want them to find anything. So we march on with our crippled feet living ragged lives on our own strength. 

Healing always begins with humility.

We weren’t meant to live alone like islands. Rather God’s Word teaches us to confess our sins to each other and gracefully and carefully help others out of their messes after we clean up our own.

In Galations 6: 1-2, Paul tell us, “…if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness…Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” and James 5:16 states, “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.”

How can we carry each other’s burdens if we don’t share or recognize them?

Friends helping each other with prayer

Healing always begins with humility and many times through a helping hand. Once we recognize our flaws and admit our weaknesses, we can then start to remove the plank, cutting off one piece at a time. This is how we repent—or change the way we think—about ourselves and our relationship with God and others. And repentence leads to spiritual maturity.

From my observations, those who are the most humble, are the most healed and mature in their faith. Those who confess their problems to others are the ones who receive help to solve them. In other words, people who seek help, find it. If you’re not sure where to start, try simply seeking prayer from a trusted friend or leader in your church.

Those who are the most humble, are the most healed.

One of the most important reasons we need to pursue help is beyond us. Christ teaches us an “others”-centered servant-like attitude. Of course it may seem contrary to everything we just read, but really it’s not. We are to be self-focused when dealing with sin issues, but others focused when it comes to loving and serving. However, we ought not neglect our own needs, especially if it would improve our relationships.

So maybe I don’t want help, but does my refusal to find support affect someone else in my life? An “others first” attitude would ask, “How would getting myself help benefit someone I love?” What a way to demonstrate our love for others by acknowledging and addressing our planks!

What are Real-Life Results of Receiving Help?

As we near the end, let me give you another peek into my personal life. I take three prescription medications to regulate anxiety and treat autoimmune disease. This is totally contrary to my holistic, organic, grass fed and spirit-led ideology. I never envisioned myself on long-term medications, but I’ve determined they improve my quality of life greatly. Without this kind of support, I can’t love my family the way God wants me to because I feel terrible.

Therefore, I’ve realized I’m not only taking medicine for my own well-being but for my loved ones as well. For the same reason, I willingly attend counseling with my husband to work on our marriage. Having a mediator helps both of us recognize our faults and weaknesses and teaches us skills to better communicate and empathize with each other. Surprisingly, my greatest spiritual growth has happened in the seasons that forced me to admit my weaknesses and seek help.

Daddy Goose needs help with his bad foot
Daddy Goose 2018

Now about Daddy Goose.

He went on to live a better life at a special bird rehabilitation sanctuary. What’s more, this event inspired several of us in the neighborhood to raise money and collect needed items for our local wildlife center. So out of the goose’s painful experience, a great effort to support the rehabilitators emerged. 

Likewise, God always produces blessings out of our pain, no matter how dark and hopeless it seems. And even though suffering is part of life, we never have to endure it alone.

God always produces blessings out of our pain.

Now it’s time for a little reflection.

What is God speaking to you today? Has He spotlighted any areas that it’s time to seriously address?

Is it time to pursue Biblical counseling to help you grieve physical, emotional or relational trauma? Maybe He’s whispering to you to call a friend for prayer or seek out an accountability partner to address an out of control area in your life, such as addiction. Is it possible that the medical intervention or medication you’ve been avoiding might improve your quality of life and relationships? Or quite simply, maybe He’s urging you to get yourself back to church or start reading your Bible.

Whatever it is, it’s never too late to get started.

Or perhaps you’ve pursued help, and like me, you’re finally experiencing the joy of transformation. I’d love to hear your story, so be sure to leave a comment below.

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The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum 

Imagine visiting a Biblically-based, spiritually safe museum that inspires and strengthens your faith. A place with exhibits based on history, science and the Bible. A place that teaches nothing but the truth of our existence. Wouldn’t be wonderful if such a thing existed? 

Enter: The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum.

Because people constantly ask us about our trip to the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museums, I decided it was well worth documenting some of those FAQs. Since you can find specific details like ticket costs on their websites, I’m going to simply offer practical suggestions and information based on our experience.

Continue reading The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum 

Let the Bad Days Come

The fall of 2019 marked a major turning point for me. I found myself submerged in an incredibly difficult situation regarding my schizophrenic brother. Several times I questioned why God would let bad things like this happen to our family.

Unfortunately, I over involved myself in his affairs, thinking I could control the uncontrollable. My deep concern for my brother’s safety and well-being became an obsession. I cried. I prayed. I toiled long hours to try to make things work better.

Eventually, I realized that I’d placed myself in the position of God in His life. Once I accepted that I wasn’t the one who could save him, I allowed God to move the way He wanted. As soon as I let go, He resolved the situation in a way I never could’ve imagined. 

Continue reading Let the Bad Days Come

The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

Aren’t you tired of the same old New Year’s resolution ideas that never seem to make a difference?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t stick: dieting, exercising, screen time limits, etc… What I’ve discovered is that even if I don’t get it perfectly right, there is only one thing will ever guarantee me success in the new year: placing God first.

What Does Putting God First Look Like?

For a long time I asked myself this question. I knew that going to church wasn’t optional, nor was giving to the church. But my shoulders drooped when I heard others talk about doing their devotional time every day. As a busy homeschool mama, I always made excuses. “I don’t have time to sit and read my Bible like that.” Or “I’m too tired to pray by the time I crash at night.” Then guilt hung around me like a cold, wet towel. 

Little did I know, but I was the one missing out. 

Continue reading The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need