Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Heart of Thanks

How often do you thank those around you? I've been thinking about that lately because I have so much for which to be thankful!

Life often doesn't turn out exactly like we want, and that means it will often bring needs that others can meet. But do you ask for help? It's not easy is it? As a Western society we are taught we are to be loners, do-it-ourselfers, able to do it all alone.

I learned many years ago when MS hit me that I needed to request assistance in order to function fully--and a full life is what I wanted! That meant asking for a ride somewhere. Help with things at home occasionally. And when I began living alone as a single after fifteen years of marriage (and an unwanted divorce) I definitely needed help at times. Needless to say, it turned out to be providential that I had already learned how to ask.

There is an art to asking for help. I've learned the hard way that if I'm not accepting of my need for help my request will not come out nicely! Many don't know that Jesus actually modeled asking for help for us. In Matthew 26:36 we read "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." I can't imagine in the state he was in, needing support, he would have used a voice full of annoyance, but one full of gentleness.

For me, the attitude behind my request needs to come from a heart of thanks that others would want to help. That takes stepping out of my comfort zone and giving it a try! Usually, with an attitude of gratefulness, people are more than willing to help out. They actually say they're blessed to be helping!

I have been speaking and singing for audiences since 1984 and it is only possible because I ask for assistance from others. My husband is another who is asked quite regularly for help--and when I say "Would you please..." there is rarely a time he isn't more than willing and wants to help. I'm so appreciative of the help I receive.

When I traveled to Israel as part of an archaeological team that worked at the site of Timnah, where Samson got his Philistine bride in Judges 14:1, the members could sense my excitement at being in the land where Jesus walked and lived and died and rose from the dead. They could sense my enthusiasm round every turn and they offered to help because of that. I so overflowed with thanks that I wrote a song and dedicated it to them at a banquet before we crossed into Jordan and rode donkeys into Petra where they fireman-carried me around yet again. (Remember the rosy building carved into the stone canyon in an Indiana Jones movie? That's Petra--it really exists with many buildings!)

It's difficult requesting help, but I guarantee that if you try asking someone, chances are they are going to want to do whatever they can if you begin with a heart of thanks!

Have a thankful week! And try asking for help--you'll give someone else a blessing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo:

You are so right when you say that people genuine want to "help". But some just don't know what to do or when to offer it.

So many times, people will wait to be asked because they don't know what you need or what has to be done. Others will be overzealous in offering to help when you really don't need any assistance at the moment.

I've been married since 1976 and my husband knew I was "sick" when we met. The illness didn't get a name until 3 weeks after we got married...MS. There are many times I am well and don't need help and he knows those are the times he doesn't have to offer.

Other times, I clearly can't cut my food, lift one leg over the side of the tub, or even bend down to pick something from the floor and he just does it.

With people (or strangers) outside the home, I think it is the awkwardness that is most uncomfortable for them. We (as a disabled/handicapped person) need to put them more at ease so that they can know what assistance to offer and when to offer it.

I am comfortable telling people after their first gesture of help "Thank you for your help." Most will answer "anytime." It is then that I say "That's great to know, I'll ask you again when I need help." It is said in a mean manner and almost always is accepted kindly.

Your blog is very insightful. I look forward to many more visits.