Let Them Help You

Given the choice, would you rather be the one who helps? Or the one who receives the help?


I saw the roles flip between my mom and dad.

For years my mother was the giver. She did everything for my dad. Ironed his shirts (and often even ironed his handkerchiefs!). Cooked him eggs and biscuit every morning. Packed his lunches for work.

But bit by bit, as Alzheimer’s stripped away her abilities, the roles switched. My dad became the caregiver. He’d seen my mom do it for him for years. Now it was his turn to do it for her.

  • Without her illness, would Daddy have learned to cook?
  • Would he have gone grocery shopping?
  • Would he have loaded the dishwasher instead of just repair it?

Perhaps he would have, but likely not. Instead, Mama’s disability gave him the opportunity to develop new abilities of his own.

So it is with us. Our weak spots give others the opportunity to grow stronger.

We’re often uncomfortable accepting others’ help. We’d rather fold your clothes than have you do our laundry. We’d rather cook an extra meal for you than be the friend in need of a meal.

But we don’t always have the choice.

Whichever side of the gift we’re on, can we find contentment?

Both roles bring blessings with them, the Lord assures that, if we watch for them.

Uncomfortable or not, sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Accept the help. It might be God at work. Not just for you, but also for someone else.

* * *

Would you rather give help or receive help? What gets in your way of accepting it? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

46 thoughts on “Let Them Help You

  1. Dianna

    Oh, my yes! I’d much rather be the giver than the receiver, but over the last couple of years, the Lord has been teaching me to be a more gracious receiver. And thank you, Lisa, for pointing out that when we are on the receiving end it very possibly could be His way of working in the life of the one who is doing the giving.

  2. Stacey Pardoe

    Lisa, I just walked through a long month of being the help-receiver! Boy, this is sure an uncomfortable roll for me! I sat in hospital beds, let people bring meals, and accepted help with the kids as I walked through a difficult health struggle. This is never easy, but God certainly uses it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hope that you’re much better now, Stacey. But what a valuable lesson to be on the receiving end of help. It’s not easy for any of us, but we do have things we can learn there. Praise God for those who help us when we need it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You sound like other givers I know, Debbie; they have an innate desire to help people, but can be let down when others don’t graciously receive their help. There’s a lesson in that for receivers as well! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Michele Morin

    I’m not sure why, but so often it happens that the giver becomes the receiver in these elderly couples–the one who was stronger or healthier or more capable ends up declining rapidly and the other finds grace to give.
    I’m so much more comfortable as a doer and a giver, but am learning to graciously receive. It’s a lesson and a process that I want to embrace before I absolutely need it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’ve seen it happen again and again, too, Michele. Maybe the giver just gets worn out. I remember my father having to take care of his mother also in her old age. It was a new experience watching that dynamic as well. But I think it gave him experience that he was going to need when my mom got Alzheimer’s.

  4. Barbara H.

    I always feel a little guilty receiving help – everyone has enough on their plates already without having to do my stuff, too. But I do know the blessing of being on the giving end, so I know sometimes He allows for such things for the growth and blessing for the giver and for the growth and maybe lessons in patience or humility or whatever for the receiver – either way, He has something He is doing in and through us on either side.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You sound like me, Barbara: I never want to be a burden to someone who already has enough work to do. But yesterday I received all day as Jeff wanted to take care of me after my being gone for 2 weeks. And I let him. πŸ™‚ It was enjoyable for both of us. God definitely works on both sides of this!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, as a friend used to tell me, Don’t block the blessing. When we refuse others’ gifts of help, we impede their joy. It’s a lesson we can be slow to learn. But we are getting there…

  5. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    I was brought up in a family where self-sufficiency was a matter of pride…you didn’t ask people for things or for help – you found a way to get it done yourself. It’s taken me many years to be willing to ask others for help. I was always willing to lend a hand and help others, but it was very hard for me to ask. I now realize that there are blessings to be had when you are allowed to help others….blessings on both the giving and receiving ends.
    Bev xx

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was brought up similarly, Bev. And I think it hindered me, too, to not ask for help even when I needed it. Pride can be so stubborn. πŸ™ Some lessons are harder to learn than others, and this has been a toughie for me. Thanks for sharing your experience. God continues to work on us, thankfully!

  6. June

    It’s definitely harder to be on the receiving end, Lisa and, unfortunately, I think that has a little too much do with my pride. Not consciously so much, more like what Bev shared, a self-sufficiency that I was taught growing up. But, for me, a form of pride nonetheless. It’s something God is lovingly working on and I’m learning to be a more gracious receiver. Even when that means receiving from God Himself. In fact, it may be the single most valuable lesson He is teaching me through my illness. Your last sentence reminds me that it is not always about me. Sometimes the lesson and the blessing is for someone else. Thank you for sharing about your parents. The picture of their role reversal is bittersweet. Have a blessed week, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, June: I think pride is likely a reason that most of us don’t want to be on the receiving end of help. πŸ™ Self-sufficiency is a trait that we definitely exalt, even though we’re taught as Christians that being dependent upon God is a sign of faith. Often we don’t learn how to receive well until we’re forced to. I’m so sorry your illness has been teaching you that lesson, June, but I’m sure that your sweet demeanor has made it easy for others to give to you!

  7. Lesley

    Like most people I find it easier to give help than to receive it. I am getting better at seeing that it goes both ways. I think I worry about being a burden to people, but I have to remind myself that when I help others I don’t see them as a burden, so why should people think of me that way?

  8. Mary Geisen

    Our weak spots give others the opportunity to grow stronger. Love that truth! I tend to be the person who does not ask for help. One of the most humbling experiences I had years ago was when I had surgery and had to ask for help. I also saw my mom and dad trade roles when my mom required care and dad stepped in to the role perfectly.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those humbling experiences of actually needing help are probably much better for us than we all realize! I’ve been in that position too. I didn’t like it, but I know it was for my growth. Thanks for sharing, Mary.

  9. Trudy

    I needed this reminder, Lisa. “Our weak spots give others the opportunity to grow stronger.” I’ve been trying to be a more gracious receiver, but it’s so hard for me to ask for help. I often worry I will be a burden, or I think other lives are busy enough. Love and hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I often think that too Trudy; I know how busy everyone is. πŸ™ But if we’re too busy for each other, we’re too busy with the wrong things. May the Lord keep working on us!

  10. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, my parents experienced the very same progression as yours did. Now that my mom is in skilled nursing, my dad lives alone and does a lot for himself, though not everything. He used to be very bad at accepting help, but as he’s gotten older and more wobbly, it’s been interesting to watch him grow in this area. As for me, I would have to say I enjoy giving help AND receiving it. I was trying to figure out why this is the case … all I can think of is that maybe because one of my love languages is gifts, and when someone does something for me it feels like a gift. πŸ™‚ Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sorry you’re having to watch your parents’ health decline, but it is interesting to see how parents handle such things so that we’ll know how to do it graciously when/if our turn comes. I think it’s a sign of maturity that you can enjoy giving AND receiving help! πŸ™‚

  11. Theresa Boedeker

    Love this. It is more comfortable being the giver, than the receiver. I thinks this ties into our pride and wanting to be in control. I remember my dad (who was an example of a giver) saying that we needed both. If no one was willing to receive, than the givers could not give and be blessed. In our relationship with God we need to be receivers. We can not out give God or earn his gifts.

  12. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, years ago, when I resisted the help a friend was offering she said, “It’s more blessed to give than receive.” The truth is my pride didn’t want to need help. Her words let me know she felt blessed and that helped me be on the receiving end. I love to be able to help others. I also like receiving helping, but I don’t like “needing” help. πŸ™‚

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it funny that we don’t often see letting others help us as a way to be a help to them? Thanks for sharing that story, Debbie. None of us want to need help, but it does give others the opportunity to serve and be blessed as they bless us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Being in control….yes, that’s another reason to not want to be the receiver instead of the giver. Good insight, Jean! God surely is patient with us as we work through all our pride issues. πŸ™‚

  13. Maree Dee

    I am the giver. I have had to learn how to let others give to me. I loved your post, especially the line,”Our weak spots give others the opportunity to grow stronger.”
    Visiting from Grace and Truth. Thank you for posting.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      May the Lord have mercy on us as we each learn to be receivers as well as givers. It’s funny that we’ve gotten the giving part down pat, but we still need to work on being the receiver. God must look and wonder at us. lol.

      1. Maree Dee

        Lisa – I joined Grace and Truth link-up as a host and I am choosing your post to feature this week. If all goes well with the technology I will be featuring your post tomorrow on my website. Thank you for sharing it with Grace and Truth.

  14. Maree Dee

    Lisa – I joined Grace and Truth link-up as a host and I am choosing your post to feature this week. If all goes well with the technology I will be featuring your post tomorrow on my website. Thank you for sharing it with Grace and Truth.

  15. Pingback: Grace & Truth Link Up - Let Them Help You | Embracing the Unexpected

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