This has been an unusually busy season for my family.
We all have them, there are those times when we feel the full weight of 24 hours in a day, five to eight of which are wasted in sleeping. If I could just harness the ability to never sleep, then I might get everything done. It’s been one of those times. Have you ever had a season like that? Where everything for church, ministry, family and the never-ending “to-do” list overlap into a crazy mess? We are running on fumes, hoping that we just might make it somewhat close to on-time to the next scheduled thing. These are the moments when we might need help, but have no idea how to ask for it. I don’t even know how to tell people what I need. Then last week, in one of my moments of falling apart, I realized that what happens (unfortunately) when it gets this crazy is that I lose the energy it takes to stop, which trumps my ability to get support. The trouble is that these times are when I need help the most. You may not be in one of those times right now, but they happen to the best of us.
As I contemplated the dilemma, I thought it might be good to write a post to support systems for the days we are all running too fast. Here’s what I find to be the most helpful:
Check in on me.
I have a few friends who will reach out with a quick text that just says, “Are you doing ok?” The biggest thing those of us in crazy seasons need is for people to just reach out and see if we are OK. I love that a text might pop up from someone who just wants to know if everything is alright. This helps me remember I am not alone, and that sometimes I can unintentionally isolate myself.
Please don’t wait on me to ask for help.
Too often I hear people say to me, “Why didn’t you ask me for help?” During these seasons, I don’t even know what to ask for half the time. I look at my schedule and wonder, “Is there anyone out there who could do my grocery shopping and cook dinner?” When you ask me what I need, I don’t know the answer to that either. Yet, please don’t think I enjoy doing everything as a lone ranger because I am not reaching out. Instead, I may be going through a time when I don’t know how to delegate. I need help. I promise. Keep offering.
Be specific in your offer.
You may not know what I need, but you do know your own skills. Sometimes I need you to offer what you can do, and that helps me know what I need. For example, I have a friend who knows that sometimes getting to school to pick up my kids can be hard due to a time crunch lately. Recently she said, “If you need your kids to come here some days, I can get them.” It may not have solved the organization of the Easter program happening next week, but it did help me. Sometimes if you offer something, it just might be that one thing I didn’t even realize I needed.
Prayer is a huge help.
Today, I had a conversation with my “boss” about delegating better. I am in a season right now when honestly, I don’t even know what to hand off. I have never been in a time quite like this one before, so all the territory is new. In these times of “too much,” sometimes what I need most is a listening ear, a hug, and some prayer. Too often people don’t reach out because they don’t have time to help either. They are afraid I may unload something onto their plate that makes it too much to bear. More often than not, what we all need is to support and lift each other up in prayer. This is no small offer.
For those of you who could use some extra help right now, pass this along to those you need to help you.
One thought on ““Help Me!” and Other Thoughts for Support Systems”
I love this idea – “be specific in your offer” – so huge for pastoral care as well. Something my wife and I are being challenged with right now is our need to lean on friendships outside of our role in the Church- e.g. pastors from other Churches, friends in other cities etc.
On one hand, the separation is really helpful to being able to speak openly about things we’re facing within our community, and on the other hand it helps us turn off work (which is hard with relationships within our nucleus). -read more at http://www.theconfessionalblog.com