“I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 127:1-2, The Book of Common Prayer)
ASKING FOR HELP
The Psalmist voices what some of us do not - our need for help and support. There is the old joke about men refusing to stop and ask for directions when they are lost. (I’ve been guilty of that a few times.) But sometimes - man or woman, boy or girl - we can be reluctant to ask for help of any kind. It goes against our American “do it yourself” persona. Part of us wants to say, “I did this all by myself! I am a self-made man! I am a self-made woman.” Let’s face it: that’s a pride thing. If we think about this for even a moment, we know that none of us is self-made. We have had parents, coaches, aunts and uncles, teachers, mentors, bosses, grandparents, and friends helping us along the way! And then there’s God, wondering if we will call out… utter a prayer… admit our need.
I think trying to be fiercely independent is very overrated and rather stupid. Be responsible? Yes, definitely. A good steward of all you have been given? Yes! Proactive in pursuing your passions, your dreams, what you hear God calling you to do? Most certainly. I am reminded of some words from the Episcopal burial liturgy:
“For none of us has life in himself [herself], and none becomes his [her] own master when he [she] dies. For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord, and if we die, we die in the Lord. So, then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s possession.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 491)
“Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s possession.”
When we try to do everything on our own, we not only deny this truth, but we also cut ourselves off from the life-changing and life-guiding power of God.
As I prepare for this little walk-about across the United States, it is really clear to me that I am going to need a lot of help and support! I am grateful for the amazing amount of support that has already been extended through family members, friends, and friends of friends. And… I am also aware that I am going to need to get really good at asking for help - for directions, for a place to stay, for places to speak, for people to spread the word about what I am doing, for people to reach out and support Julia, and for financial support as I try to raise $6 million for children. Each morning, when I set out for that day’s walk or that day’s talk, I am going to be stepping into a huge unknown. And I am going to need LOTS of help.
I am excited to see how God shows up, how others show up, how I show up. I am wanting to strengthen my “trust muscles.” And I want to strengthen my “asking” and my “willing to receive” muscles, too.
From where is your daily help coming? Who are you asking for help? Who is showing up to offer support in your life, out of the blue? Are you remembering to ask God for help? Are you willing to share your concerns and your needs with the One to whom you belong?
These are a few questions to ponder as we begin another year on our journey with God.