Good morning, Five Minute Families. Let me ask you… are you a burden or a blessing? My mom is fiercely independent and does not want to be a burden to her family in any way. Through some recent medical needs, she has had to share a bit more with us about the things going on in her life. In fact, when she was rushed to the ER and had to be admitted to the hospital, the first words out of her mouth when we spoke on the phone were, “I hate to be a bother, son.”
Ongoing needs for her require a reshuffling of some family members’ schedules, and some of us visiting with her in her home state. Even still, she hates that her needs are disrupting other people’s lives. But, is she a burden? A bother? A disruption?
Or, rather, is she a blessing for whom we get to exemplify God’s admonishments of one anothering?
You see, the answer to my opening question is that NO ONE is a burden. Asking for help or, more specifically, NEEDING help should not be thought of as a bother or a burden – by the caregiver or the care receiver.
You have had heard us talk often of one anothering. There are 100 Bible verses that use the phrase or a variation of the phrase “one another.” More than half of those are about how we are to treat each other.
John 13:14 tells us to serve one another. “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
John 15:13 exemplifies being willing to disrupt our lives and letting others disrupt theirs for us. “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”
Acts 6:1-7 reminds us of the great need to care for one another. “Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty” which is serving the congregational needs. Just as we each have a role to play in the congregation, we each have a role to play at home. Sometimes, we are like the preacher of the word, having to stay focused on the work – the literal job – set before us. Sometimes, we are like the deacons of the church, having to serve our families mental, physical, medical, and emotional needs. And, since we are all called to serve one another, we need to be open to the flexibility of our needs and roles within the family. For example, with so many of us having jobs and responsibilities that do not allow us to be away for weeks at a time, we are tag-teaming taking care of my mother’s needs. Some family went out at the beginning, Kim is there now, and I will be there later this week.
1 Corinthians 12:24 through 26 points out that we are not to suffer alone. “Instead, God has put the body together, … So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it”
And, Ephesians 4:32 states simply, “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
If you keep your needs from your loved ones, you are depriving them of the blessing of one anothering. We are not suggesting that a person runs to someone else for every little thing in life; codependence is not the goal here. But, there may be very real instances when you should lean fully on others… doctor says no lifting, no exercising, no leaving the house, etc…
ASK for help. EXPLAIN your needs. DESCRIBE your pain. ACCEPT that some things may be done differently. And, BE GRATEFUL.
But, if you have trouble asking for help:
First, examine your beliefs and see if you can see why you see yourself as a burden instead of the blessing that you are. If you view yourself as a burden, you are believing a lie. Now, someone may have told you explicitly or implied that you are a burden. They are wrong. We each have needs and desires, and God wants our families and biblical communities to step up and take care of those needs and desires.
Second, practice accepting help now even if you are not in great need.
Third, share your real thoughts – though not always your first thoughts (and if you want to know more about that, you can listen to our podcast on God thoughts). Stop hiding your aches and pains. By sharing them in truth, others may be able to help you sooner.
Fourth, do your due diligence to actually take care of yourself. If you are sitting around for days and days, ignoring basic physical needs when you are capable of doing so, that isn’t good. Start small, but do what you can so that when you do need help, you will feel more accepting of it.
And, finally, make a plan to pay it forward if possible. That way, you’ll know you are not taking advantage of anyone.
When you allow others to fulfill their God-given instructions of caring for you, you are a blessing, even in your pain. When you allow others to see you vulnerable, you help them to know that it is ok not to be perfect. That is a blessing. When you give up your independence for interdependence, you have blessed your family, yourself, and future generations.
Be a blessing. And, be blessed!