In a way, help is both a blessing and a curse. There is a good-news, bad-news quality to help. The bad news comes when you find yourself in such a dire situation where you absolutely, desperately need help. You’re in trouble, and your own efforts are not enough to save you. When help is what you get, that’s very good news, indeed.
Help is a three-step process:
1) Recognizing help is needed.
Denise had reached the threshold of step one; she knew she needed help. Her anger, scathing sarcasm, and bitter outlook were poisoning her life. Things were totally out of control, and Denise realized she needed help.
During my first counseling session with Denise, she spent most of the time forcefully going over why she wasn’t the sort of person who really needed help. She reminded me of a house with a plethora of “No Trespassing,” “No Soliciting,” “Do Not Enter,” and “Warning: Guard Dog on Duty” signs posted everywhere. Intrigued, I could only hope that Denise would trust me enough to allow me past her carefully constructed barriers.
Denise wanted help but she only wanted it yelled across the safety of the sidewalk — not whispered from inside the locked chamber of her heart and emotions. I needed to get inside to be able to give her the help she really needed.
2) Finding help.
Cynthia went to numerous people to try to find help for her bulimia back before most people knew what it was. There were people — professionals — who told her to “just stop it.” There were people who told her what she really needed was a man in her life. There were people who just wanted to give her a pill to make the pain go away.
She didn’t give up. Determined, she kept searching and asking questions, evaluating the answers, and trying them on for size regarding her own issues.
As a Christian, I believe that God is the ultimate source of true help. I believe that God has the ability to truly know who you are. I believe that God has the capacity to provide just the help you need. Many of the people who come to The Center for help believe in God. They believe that God can work through us to provide them with a new direction for their lives and with a renewed understanding of all that is possible, including hope.
3) Accepting help.
Unlike so many of the false promises in this world, the help God gives is effective and tailored to our needs. The help He offers can also be different from what we asked for. Denise knew she needed help from me. The help she wanted was to have more control in her life. The help I offered was for her to have less.
This is the critical third step to help. Once the need for help is acknowledged and offered, you still must make a decision to accept the help. When you do, your life becomes linked with the person who offered the help. A relationship of trust is established. Help is offered, but you must reach out, take it, and incorporate it into your life. When you do, you are changed.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” There are so many ways God has promised to provide us with help. I don’t know about your life specifically, but I know, in general, I’m always in need of help. I guess that’s why I like the phrase “ever-present” in this verse. It means to me that God is always watching, always aware, always there for me.
Hebrews 13:6 sums it up pretty well:
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ ”
Source: Chapter 13, “God Provides Help” in Gotta Have It! by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.