Asking for help sign of strength, not weakness

If there is anything I’ve learned in life so far, it’s to keep going and to seek guidance when I need it, even when it was difficult to ask for help. Regardless of the situation. If I have a stupid question, if I am struggling with something, or if I don’t understand what is going on, now I have learned that others want to help me. I’ve also learned that you can’t really “fake it till you make it”, and to make it, it’s essential to seek support from others.

For the longest time, I never reached out for help. I kept my internal struggles to myself until they consumed me. I put a smile on and kept chugging along. Once my problems became overwhelming, I’d find an outlet whether it be the gym, or some other less healthy way to relieve stress. Then go right back to keeping all of my issues to myself. If you have ever heard the song, “I’ll Keep On” by NF – that was me, along with lots of people. There’s a verse in the song that says, “It’s like I’m standing in the rain and you offer me a raincoat, but I would rather stand there wringing wet than take the handout.” I’d rather keep everything to myself than humble myself and admit that I was struggling, and to ask for help.

I’m decent at fighting alone and I can maybe last a few rounds, but then it all goes south and I fall apart. It’s like I’ll take one step forward on my own, but then I’d take two steps back. When I sought help and advice; I’d take two steps forward and maybe one step back. Once I realized the importance of asking for help I started finding peace, and situations began to resolve themselves.
I’m a lifeguard for the City of Bryan. This summer I worked 40 hours a week, and during those long days I constantly watched kids. I watched some children learn how to swim after many failures due to the encouragement of their friends and family, and I also watched a kid teach me a valuable lesson about calling out for help.

I made my first save towards the end of the summer. A kid jumped off the diving board and wasn’t able to swim to the side and he called, “help! I can’t swim!!” I immediately called the EAP (emergency action plan, which is a long whistle) and jumped in the pool, grabbed him before he went all the way under and swam him to the wall.

I learned two important life lessons that day: if some of the children didn’t have their friends supporting them and helping them learn to swim, there is no way that they would have had the motivation to continue trying. It is important to seek support from friends and family when faced with a challenge. I also learned to ask for help when you know you can’t succeed on your own because others are there to help us if we are drowning. The young boy asked for help because he knew he wasn’t going to make it to the wall on his own. He looked to someone who was qualified and had the training and ability to help him. The more I think about that save, the more I’m in awe of the simple parallel between my job and what God does.

In life we all jump off of a diving board, sometimes we’re able to swim to the side on our own, sometimes we need the encouragement of the people around us, and other times we need a lifeguard to jump in and save us.

Life is easier with people there supporting you in your struggles. Life is complicated, messy, hurtful, challenging, and doesn’t hold any punches back. People can be mean, rude, annoying, out of touch, they hurt feelings, break hearts, and they’ll make you feel alone and isolated. But there are also people out there who want to help you combat all the negatives of life with the positives.

There are two options when faced with an obstacle: We can dwell on our problems and isolate ourselves and keep our struggles a secret or lean on friends and family and call out for help from someone who has the qualifications to help us. It’s so easy to tread water, but eventually the current becomes overwhelming and the weight of the struggle becomes too much for just one person to bear. Regardless of the strength you possess, not everything can or should be fought alone.
You might have a voice in your head telling you that there is nobody to save you, that nobody cares enough, and to hide your problems. Don’t listen to that voice! That voice wants you to drown! Instead, focus on what is true.

Focus on the fact that you are deeply loved and cherished, by other people and by a God who loves unconditionally. People naturally want to help others. It is okay to not be okay and reach to others to lean on, just like the kid who jumped off the diving board and couldn’t swim, he asked for help because I was his only option for safety and because he couldn’t have swam to the side on his own. Just like how you might be struggling with something in life, it is okay to ask for help from others. You do not have to face your struggles on your own. Know that God is waiting for your cry for help before He jumps in and rescues you. He gave us each other to live in community with and to help hold each other up. God is also waiting for your cry for help before He jumps in and rescues you.

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'”
Matthew 14:30-31