In a culture that values strength and often sees weakness as a defect, it can be hard to admit our own limitations, our own needs. But we were not created to go through this life on our own. We need each other.
So what do we do when we have never learned to ask for help? Or if we have been rejected when we have tried to lean on others? Recently, a listener named Paul called in to The Joe Sikorra Show and shared what is likely a common situation – someone who is quick to help others, but doesn’t feel comfortable asking others for help, which leads to feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Paul said:
“I try to go to Adoration and Mass pretty much on a daily basis, I’m involved with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I can socialize with everyone I’m with, but I would never feel comfortable coming to them and saying, ‘Can you help me out?’ It’s just in my nature. I’ve always been willing to offer people help, but I never want to ask for it. And the few times I asked for it, I’ve been disappointed, so I quit. I have 8 surviving siblings, I have a daughter I never talk to unless I call her, and I just get tired.”
Joe responded with encouragement that we can all take to heart, saying:
“You volunteer and you give so much of yourself, because you see dignity in all human beings. With the work you do with St. Vincent de Paul (an organization I deeply love), you look at those people and you say, ‘They deserve my help.’ Right?
And you, too, are formed and made in the very same image as they are. They are made in God’s image, you are made in God’s image. So, why do they deserve your help and you don’t deserve the help of another person?
I know it’s deeply emotional, and I know it’s scary because you don’t want to feel that kind of pain. And what I suspect is that very early in your life, you were taught that you don’t deserve to have your needs met. And so you began pushing them down, and you felt alright giving yourself to other people to support them, but you need to change that idea, you need to challenge it.
It is going to require that ongoing courage that you’re showing right now, to reach out and say, ‘Will you help me?’ I know you’ve had experiences where you’ve reached out for help and you were rejected. I get it. But if you don’t reach out, you’ll never have your needs met. And as you give your hands in the service and love of God to help other people, there are people who want to reach out to you in the very same way.
My prayer for you is that just as when Jesus was lonely and struggling, and He reached out to those nearest to Him and He said, ‘Pray with me.’ I hope you do that as well, following the Lord’s example. Reach out and ask for support, because you deserve it. You deserve to be loved, you deserve to have your needs met.
If Jesus Himself could ask for help and support, don’t you think that’s a good example for you and me? … I want you to know that you are not alone. I beg you to take that small step tomorrow, and just reach out to one other person and share some part of your life. Continue to reach out with just that one step.”
Listen to the full conversation below:
The Joe Sikorra Show airs weekdays from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Pacific.