Ask For Help And For Counsel
Ask for help. Ask for counsel. Neglecting either is a grave error.
Ask For Help
I bet you’ve had times when a friend or family member needed help, but they chose not to ask you for it. Our friend, whose 90th birthday bash was so much fun (4 years ago), badly injured his hand while loading a fishing boat a few months ago. Instead of calling for help, he wrapped his bloody limb in a towel and drove himself to Urgent Care. The first nurse to see him gasped, “We don’t deal with that here. Get to the ER!”
When I saw him a few days later, my response was something like this: “Dude, call for help next time. I’ll drive.” He’s tough. He laughed. I laughed. It’s all good.
But sometimes it’s not all good. When a crisis descended upon a family friend, we begged her, “Please, let us know how we can help. Even if you don’t know how we can help, tell us when you are in trouble or feeling down. Don’t navigate this alone.”
Many of you would rather carry someone over a mountain than to ask for someone to help you vacuum your carpet. Next time you are tempted to avoid asking for help, remember how much you want your friends to ask you for help in their time of need.
Ask For Counsel
Asking for help is good, but asking for help over and over without ever bothering to ask for wise counsel is foolish for you and frustrating for them. If you are burning through friends, this might be the cause. To only ask for help is to treat others not as friends but as resources. It might not be your intention to leave these people feeling used, but they will feel it nonetheless.
When people habitually ask me for help, I evaluate our friendship. Will they consider me a friend if I can’t help this time? Have they considered my needs recently, or is every communication tied to a plea for help? Are they willing to listen to my counsel?
I can help people change a tire or some other one-time thing, but I’ve come to realize that I can’t help people well long term without developing a friendship. Without a friendship, I feel used, I get jaded, and the person learns to view people like me as resources to be exploited. We all lose.
This realization causes me to check my motives before asking others for help. Could I be using them for selfish motives? Am I contributing to their lives? Am I proceeding with care?
“Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.”Proverbs 26:16, NLT
Don’t let my past few paragraphs distort your view of God and others. If you have not been asking others for wise counsel and you are in a time of need, still ask for help. Just include that you are also wanting to listen to their counsel.
And most importantly, if you have not been listening to God, still ask for help!!! He has not given up on you. You need not have heeded all of his counsel to ask for help now. If that were the case, humanity would be doomed. He’s not shaking his head in eternal disappointment. He’s desiring to help you. So seek help from him. Then seek his counsel too.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”James 1:5
There’s nothing greater you could do today than asking your Good Father for help and counsel. He’s with you.
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