I think I’m pretty okay at helping. I’m not being big-headed or anything. To prove it, I’m going to add that I’m not always good at *wanting* to help. Sometimes I just want to sit down and not help. I’m going to share something a wise person once told me about helping:
Help is only “HELP” when it’s actually helpful to the
other person, something they actually need.
So if my husband or child doesn’t actually *need* my help at that moment – then it’s probably more like interference than help at that point. I’m pretty good at that, sometimes, too. “Helping” where I’m not needed, that is.
Likewise, if you’re doing something that someone actually does need, whether it’s how you thought you’d help out or not, then you’re being the most help to that person at that moment.
So maybe you thought you’d help your husband today by cleaning out his closet but then he asks you to clean out the car so he can take it for a tune-up at the shop. You can insist you’re too busy because you’re “helping” him clean out his closet, or you can offer real help where it’s needed and respond to his request. Which one will help him the most?
Sometimes we get something into our heads but we’re not really listening to what the other person is saying — part of helping well is listening well.
Back to that attitude thing, the part about not wanting to help… how helpful is it, REALLY, if it’s done reluctantly or resentfully? Haven’t you been on the other end of that one? Haven’t you ever thought, “If it’s that much trouble, don’t worry, I’ll do it myself..” Why do we put our loved ones on the spot when they really do need help but don’t want to ask because of our attitude? Sometimes it’s hard (I don’t really like cleaning out the car, for example, so it’s hard to accept that request cheerfully.) But you know what I’ve learned?
Most of the time, my reluctance to help stems from focusing on myself and my inconvenience, or the difficulty/undesirability of the task at hand. But when I’m focusing on the person I’m helping, it’s hard to get cranky or feel lazy.
Food for thought:
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 3:16-18 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Lord, make me your hands to serve those around me when they need a helping hand. Help me to listen for what is really needed and help in ways that truly serve. Amen.
I would love to hear your thoughts and what God is doing in your hearts.
If you would like to join in, the rules are simple. Link up an encouraging post about marriage with the direct url to the post. Next week’s word is “Initiative-Taking.” Join us then for more Marriage Monday!
I so did this early in our marriage. I absolutely INSISTED that I be the one to clean and iron all my husband’s dress shirts because that was what every “good wife” did. Well, he actually preferred how the dry cleaner took care of his shirts so that “good wife” stuff wasn’t appreciated a whole lot. Finally, I gave up and let him take the shirts to the dry cleaner and we were all much happier.
There have been several things I just gave up and did his way and we were all much happier. Why should it have to always be my way? ;0)
Thank you for commenting and linking up!
This is great! I often feel that I forget that I am my beloved’s suitable HELPER. I like to be in charge and lead the way, and often get caught in that trap that you described above, doing what I think should be helpful instead of standing behind my husband and doing what he actually needs me to do. Sometimes, that even means to step back and just let him do it! I thought about blogging myself on this topic, but you have summed it up so lovely! Once again, thanks for your great words of encouragement!
Awww.. chicken.. you gonna make me do this all by myself? 😉 Just teasing.. I do love when you chime in, your posts are so smart. I look forward to next time. =)
Awww! Thanks! Actually, I was mostly considering the fact that today is my 7 year anniversary! I am afraid that if I wrote on marriage today I would have way too much to say and it may not be clear at all! I am already trying to think of next week though…hmmmm, so many ways to go with that one!
You just reminded me that mine’s only a few weeks away.. maybe I should start planning something good. =)