Why We Find it Hard to Ask for Help (Even When We Should)

I’m sure my neighbors wondered why I screamed, but if they’d seen what I saw, they would have screamed with me.

I picked up the hose to water a potted tree next to our garage, and when I did, a huge tarantula lept at me. I dropped the hose, ran inside, and called our exterminator.

“Help! What should I do?”

Our exterminator laughed. “Stay out of his way!”

Then he continued, “tarantulas are harmless. They do bite, but they look more dangerous than they actually are.”

After my nerves settled down, I started thinking about how easy it was for me to immediately ask for help and, just as importantly, how willingly I listened to the answer I received.

If only asking for help was always this easy! But, in my experience, it’s not.

Most of us struggle with asking for help. Or, if we do ask for help, we wait until we’re desperate–our own “tarantula moment.”

According to studies, there are several reasons we don’t ask for help, even when we should. See if any of these apply to you:

  1. We’re an over giver
  2. We are codependent
  3. We are trapped in a victim mindset, and asking for help means we can no longer play the victim card
  4. We don’t want to be seen as “needy”
  5. We think it’s better/safer/easier to go it alone
  6. We don’t want to bother others
  7. We derive a large part of our self-esteem from doing things ourselves

Other studies show that overcoming these obstacles and asking for help has huge benefits:

  • We experience less stress and anxiety
  • We find solutions quicker and achieve goals faster
  • We connect with others
  • We grow in trust and intimacy and feel supported by others
  • We allow others to feel valued by us

Asking for help means we have to simultaneously lay aside our pride and our insecurity. Pride, because saying, “help me” means we have to drop the mask of being super-woman in all areas of life. Insecurity, because we must overcome the fear of bothering someone when we ask for help.

The fact is, all of us need help in some area, whether it’s in our personal life, professional life, spiritual life, or relational life.

But, only those of us who seek help find it.

And, just as vital, only those of us who let others help us benefit from the ask.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m guilty of asking for help and then taking over as if I don’t need it. Some recent self-awareness made me realize that not only do I do this with people (“can you help me? Oh, never mind, I’ve got it all under control.”), but sometimes, I do this with God, as well.

I’ll pray, “Lord, I need your help. Please help me discern your will, love my neighbor, act with wisdom”, or some other pressing issue I need God’s help with.

I’ll ask with genuine sincerity, too.

But no sooner do I say, “amen” than I’m micromanaging God from here to next Tuesday. I might as well say, “never mind, God. I’ve got this all under control.”

As if.

The truth is, God wants us to ask for his help and God promises to give us His help. Nothing is too big; nothing is too small. In fact, one of the primary titles of the Holy Spirit is “the Helper.”

God doesn’t reserve His willingness to help us for our crisis “tarantula” moments. He’s available to help anytime, anywhere, for any reason. But, like me with my exterminator, not only do we have to ask for His help, we have to listen, and respond to His answer.

So, is there some area of life where you know you need a little help?

Maybe it’s in your parenting, your marriage, your prayer life, your biblical knowledge, your physical health, your emotional health, or your work. Whatever it is, ask for help. Ask God and ask others.

God’s help always comes through His Word, and often, God’s help comes through another person.

Yes, asking for help will mean relinquishing our pride and pushing aside our insecurity, but the payoff is wisdom and growth.

A small price to pay for simply saying, “can you help me?”

You are loved,

Donna

PS. Donna will be traveling throughout the United States this fall. To see if she’ll be in your area, check out her speaking schedule here.

PSS. Donna would love to connect with you more on Instagram @donnaajones. And, she’d love you to join the community of listeners to the “That’s Just What I Needed” podcast, which you can find everywhere podcasts are heard.