More From Monica A. Andermann

October 28, 2021 by Monica A. Andermann (New York, USA)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NRSV)

It can be hard to ask for help. I know it hasn’t always been easy for me. Growing up with a disabled younger brother and parents who often struggled with illness led me to take on the role of caregiver early. In many ways the role defined me, and as an adult I quickly fell into a pattern of being the first to volunteer to assist wherever and whenever needed—for friends and extended family, in my neighborhood, or in my office. Unfortunately, this came at a personal cost. It was tiring. And there were other issues too. I struggled between feeling bitter about all my extra responsibilities and guilty for not being a “cheerful giver.” 

One day, I sat down with my church friend Lee and told her about what a bad Christian I was due to my feelings of burden. She was a bit older than me and a whole lot wiser. “You’re not a bad Christian,” she explained. “You’re just doing too much.”

That moment sparked a true revelation. Lee challenged me to pare down my responsibilities where possible, and I did. She also challenged me to prayerfully consider each new responsibility before I accepted it. And she also reminded me it is OK for me to ask for help when I need it. I clung to her advice many times, including when it was necessary for me to find placement for my mom in her final months and when I eventually had to secure a home-care aide for my dad.

In today’s devotion, I wrote about some people in the Bible who were well aware of their need for support during their trials. They knew that partnering with like-minded people is a valuable tool of self-preservation that would allow them to accomplish much more than if they pushed forward alone. 

A pattern of exaggerated self-sufficiency can lead to burnout. God doesn’t want us to stand by ourselves. God put both Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, sent three wise men out to greet the Christ child, and even provided Jesus with twelve disciples. If you are feeling over-burdened, it’s OK to ask for help. Pray for God to lead you toward a good support network. Surround yourself with people who care and can uplift you. Surely, they’ll give you a hand so you don’t have to go it alone.

I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself. — Numbers 11:17 (NRSV)

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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