What I Learned This Week: Why We Don’t Want To Ask For Help

This was a tough week. I had to visit someone in jail who I love like a daughter.  I knew she had been struggling, and had attempted to contact her several times to talk with her, but she wouldn’t respond.  We had talked once on a prior occasion, and she said something to me that I had heard several of my other ladies give as a reason not to meet with me.  She already knew what I would say.

Why, when we know we need help and are careening dangerously out of control, will we not ask for and pursue help?  Why will we stay on the destructive path we have chosen, whether by going full steam ahead into danger or just taking our hands off the wheel in resignation?  The answer is very simple.  Because we want to keep doing what we are doing.

I had another discussion in our Step Study group about how people always do what they WANT to do, NOT what they SAY they want to do.   If you want to know what a person WANTS to do, then watch what they ACTUALLY do.  Ignore their words.

I want to quit smoking.

I want to lose weight.

I want to stop doing drugs and alcohol.

I want to stop having sex outside of marriage.

I want to stop lying.

I want to stop stealing.

No, you don’t.  If you did, you would actually be working on it. But there is always something else more important, something else you would rather do.

You see, no one has put a gun to your head to stop you from doing those things. Conversely, you do those things because you want to do them, even think you need to do them.  Therefore, no matter what you might say, your actions reveal your true heart about the situation.

I have been paying attention to my “urges” to eat things when I am not hungry, or when I am suddenly stressed.  Why do I sometimes have perfect self-control and at other times, none at all? Because sometimes I really want something (to be healthier or thinner), and sometimes I want something else more (a container of tapioca or a bowl of Cap’n Crunch). Sometimes I really do want to be self-controlled and lose weight so my knees don’t hurt and my clothes fit better, and sometimes I just have this feeling that I will jump out of my skin if I don’t fulfill my perceived need to have some sugar.  I want the sugar more.

The truth of the situation is that our coping mechanisms have been this way for so long, we are terrified of giving up the things that we tell ourselves bring us relief from our stress and uncomfortable situations.  We absolutely cannot believe that there is another, more satisfying and enduring solution to our negative feelings.  Therefore, we cling to them when the going gets tough.

So when I talk to people who talk about wanting to be happy, or self-controlled, or anything else they are not at present, I look at their actions. If they are going to church, going to recovery meetings, coming for counseling, doing their counseling homework, then I KNOW that they really want to be healed.  The rest just want to continue finding reasons why they don’t need to pursue help for their healing, because they don’t want to give up their coping mechanisms that make them feel better.

Now, let me clarify something.  There is absolutely NO CONDEMNATION if you are not pursuing your healing.    It is easier to stay where you are, feeling hopeless about your situation, than to do the hard work of trying something new and moving into the uncomfortable unknown. But I need to be absolutely clear on this point:  until you want your healing more than you want the miserable comfort of where you are, things will never change. It will not be anyone else’s fault, either – you cannot blame the people or situation around you, or from the past, because they are not causing this.  You are.

But I am here to tell you that there ABSOLUTELY IS another way, more satisfying and enduring, than the destructive cycle in which you find yourself. I don’t do it perfectly, but I’m 1000% more free than I’ve ever been.  I’ve watched ladies I’ve counseled walk away from horribly abusive situations and not look back, changed forever NOT to respond, but to CHOOSE the life they want and need. You can have this, too.

If you want to start, then contact me for a short consultation call. There is absolutely NOTHING in your life that cannot be healed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He can reveal the truth to you AND empower you to walk through whatever He asks you to do. Beyond where you are is FREEDOM, peace, joy and righteousness.  Don’t wait another second to break free from what is holding you back. Instead, as one of my mothers in the Lord always says, “Go after your healing like a dog after raw meat!”

Your sister in Christ,

Penny