“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 ESV
A few weeks ago my husband called in the middle of the afternoon to let me know he would be working late.
This isn’t an unusual occurrence. As the owner of his own rental company, my husband, for the most part, is a one man band, and late nights are par for the course.
While my husband was scheduled to work late, I was scheduled to be at writing group, but in order for that to happen I needed to find someone to watch my girls.
As many of you probably know, finding a last minute babysitter is not always an easy task. Both sets of grandparents were out of town, my regular, go-to-babysitter wasn’t available, and my lovely writing group friends were expecting me to meet them in just a few short hours.
One possibility remained: my brother-in-law, Jeff, and his wife Crystal. Jeff and Crystal recently moved to our area and prior to this occasion I had never had the need to ask them to babysit, especially on such short notice.
For several minutes the following debate played out inside my head:
Hopeful Me: “Just call them, you don’t know until you ask…”
Doubtful Me: “Oh, don’t bother them; they’re not going to want to do that…”
Hopeful Me: “But if it were the other way around, you’d be happy to watch Zach…”
Doubtful Me: “It’s too late; the girls at group will understand if I can’t make it. I really don’t want to be a nuisance. Besides, they probably already have plans…”
Hopeful Me: “Yes, your writing group friends would understand, but you love writing group, you look forward to it all week, isn’t it worth fighting for? Isn’t it worth swallowing your pride and asking for help?”
In the end, the hopeful me won out and I gave my brother-in-law a call. To my surprise, he and Crystal were happy to watch my girls. Together, Jeff and Crystal, their son Zach, and my girls, had a blast while I was gone.
What a blessing it was, to find that my cry for help did not result in a frustrating situation, but in joy and a chance to experience community.
This week I found myself, once again, in need of help yet struggling to ask for it.
On Friday, we discovered a leak in our basement which left us without running water for several days. It’s funny how interesting life becomes when you can’t shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
Enter my awesome friends Juli and Amanda. Juli, my neighbor, was more than happy for my family to come over for a shower, and Amanda, my sweet friend, was incredibly willing to swing by my house and pick up my laundry so that we could have clean clothes.
“If you could just wash them,” I said to Amanda as she loaded her backseat with my dirty laundry, “I’ll be glad to come pick them up when their done. I still have a dryer after all, there’s no sense in you taking your time to dry and fold everything.”
Amanda smiled and humored me, “Okay,” she said. Three hours later she returned with all my laundry, washed, dried, and folded.
I wanted to share these stories, in part, to brag on my amazing family and friends. But also because I wanted to pose a question: why is it so hard to ask for help?
The answer may be different for each of us. Perhaps it’s pride, or maybe a reluctance to give up control. Maybe it’s fear of being a nuisance or the belief that we can manage on our own.
Whatever it is that keeps you from asking for help, may I (gently) encourage you to get over it? Whatever it is, don’t let it get in your way. Don’t let it get in the way of blessing, in the way of community, in the way of loving one another.
When troubles lurk and needs mount like piles of dirty laundry, it’s important to remember that God never intended for us to maneuver through life alone. Rather, He calls all of us to bear one another’s burdens.
Tonight I’m heading off to writing group, my husband is home to watch the girls, my laundry is clean, and our water is back to normal. I am thankful for each of these things, but more than anything, I am thankful for my family and friends.
I am thankful for their willingness to help me, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have to help them in return.
When our hearts are focused on community rather than pride…on each other rather than ourselves…the love of God is what flows, as freely as running water.