[guestpost] ONLY 6 more days until the I Am Online Experience! My heart at michelecushatt.com is to create safe spaces for tough conversations about the tensions between real faith and real life. That’s why, starting October 2, I’m leading an honest, unplugged, and ongoing conversation about the question we all ask: “Who am I?” Want to know the truth about what God says about you? Ready to ask for help? Then join me, and let’s experience an identity transformation, together.[/guestpost]

Help me. Please. I can’t do this alone.

I sat criss-cross on the carpet, my back up against my bed. Close by, my Bible sat open, full of answers, but I could not find them. I had no words save these eight.

Prayer delivered, I waited for rescue. Only the sky didn’t split open. Help didn’t burst through my bedroom door or ring my cell with deliverance. Instead, silence. And the weight of so many unknowns and impossibles clouding any clarity. I had no plan. No ideas.

Help me. Please. I can’t do this alone. 

I’ve prayed a similar prayer many times in my life, when marriage proved hard and parenting felt impossible. When friendships disintegrated and ministry wounded. As illness threatened and the thought of death—and life—overwhelmed. Without answers or strength left to find them, I sank to the carpet with an eight-word plea.

Each time, I waited for angels to sing and God to descend. I lifted eyes to the ceiling, hoping he’d ride chariot from heaven and sweep all my cares away.

He didn’t.

Perhaps because He’d already delivered the help I needed, nestled in the eight words of my prayer.

Yes, I couldn’t do it alone. I wasn’t supposed to. 

I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing independence was the epitome of maturity, the external evidence that I’d achieved adulthood. It seemed you couldn’t get a decent job unless you possessed it and couldn’t be a leader of any merit without it. To be a grown-up—and a woman of true faith—meant to be strong, self-sufficient, able to live and thrive without needing anything from anyone.

I was wrong. Horribly wrong.

Self-sufficiency wasn’t adulthood. Self-sufficiency was pride. Foolishness. And a fast-track to physical, emotional and spiritual devastation.

Confused, I tried to trace my steps back to the source of my false belief. Was I misled by the advice of well-meaning adults? Was it my own misappropriated Type-A enthusiasm? Of course, being raised in church, there was an assumption that I needed to “trust God,” lean on him alone when times got tough. To ask for help meant a lack of faith, right? God held all the answers; I only needed to turn to Him.

Yes, God holds all the answers. But I’d neglected an equally important truth: He often delivers those answers through people. And our relationship with them. 

The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons, with Himself included in that community as its prime sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.  —Dallas Willard

For thirty minutes now, I’ve read those words by Dallas Willard, trying to articulate what my heart feels an urgency to say:

First, you don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to prove to all of us that you’re a faith warrior. Sometimes the most “spiritual” thing you can do is to admit you’re weak and without answers. It’s called humility. And God honors it {Prov. 3:34}. By the way? Paul—who showed more chops than most—didn’t hide his struggles; he leaned into them: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” {2 Cor. 12:9}

Second, God is with you. He isn’t up in heaven, aloof and looking down on your life with casual indifference. If you know Jesus, you have God’s Spirit living in you, and in the people around you, bringing you comfort in this moment and the ones yet to come. No need to keep your eyes to the ceiling for His arrival. He’s already come.

And third, you don’t have to do it alone. The battle of life and faith isn’t won by lone soldiers. We need each other. We need support and wisdom, accountability and prayer. Even in the perfection of the Eden’s garden, God declared it wasn’t “good for man to be alone” {Gen. 2:18}. God’s words, not mine. Friends, the same is true today. God created us for relationship, with Him and with each other. To neglect either one is to put ourselves at serious risk.

In short, let’s become a people that realize the answer to our cry for help is found in the relationships right in front of us: The presence of God. And the presence of His people.

And if you need a safe place to start? Join me for the I Am Online Experience, October 2 through November 10. You are seen. You are chosen. And you are not alone.

healing

[reminder]Do you find it difficult to ask for help—of God or those around you? What are some of the reasons why? [/reminder]

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