For most of us, asking for help is one of the most challenging aspects of personal growth. There’s something macho or American-Cowboy-esque about conquering the west on our own. In fact, we’ve almost made asking for help a sign of weakness.
However, there are three problems with trying to do everything yourself:
- You will hit a ceiling that you cannot break through: In other words, you will only go as far as you can take yourself. Think about it, if you face a problem or challenge that you don’t know how to solve…you will never know how to solve it without someone else entering in to the equation!
- The journey is lonely: Running your race alone makes for a lonely journey. A few weeks ago I was doing some team building with a local high school. During one our activities, two parents were locked back-to-back, sitting on the floor. They were trying an exercise where they push against each other, until they create the right tension and are able to stand from a sitting position. Everyone in the room had finished the task but them. As they struggled, they were alone, until a nearby mom saw their predicament. This woman realized that the wife wasn’t able to get traction on the slippery gym floor so she came over and stood on her toes. Immediately the wife had traction, but now it was clear that her husband was having the same issue. Another lady came and stood on his toes and then a group of about 30 participants gathered around them and encouraged them to finish. When they finally stood, the room erupted in applause and the couple smiled, laughed and clapped as the accomplishment of such a simple task. A task that would have been unfinished had no one joined them in the journey.
- God didn’t call you to a solo life: God actually made you and me for relationships. First and foremost, He wants us to be right with Him, but after that, He wants us to live in community with each other. In the Bible’s account of creation in Genesis 1 & 2 it’s astounding to think that after God made Adam, He said, “It’s not good for you to be alone” -- in other words, Adam was incomplete in a perfect world, with a perfect God, as a perfect man. But when God made Eve, Adam was made complete (as was Eve!) and now the perfect couple could enjoy their relationship with God and with each other. That’s what God had made them for.
So if you’re journeying alone, let me offer you 3 people you should you seek as partners in your journey.
- Ask a “pro” for help. Whatever you are working on or growing in, ask someone who has already made headway, for help. If you are working on a blog, talk to a blogger to get ideas how to be more effective. If you are starting a business, talk to a successful business owner to get help. When I was writing my first book, I spoke to several authors about how they wrote their books. I’m amazed at how often “busy” people made time for me when I simply asked for help. Don’t be shy -- be bold in seeking the counsel and advice of those who have gone before you.
- Find another running mate. As you journey, you’ll notice others heading the same direction you are. As God started to put Overboard living in my heart, I started to realize others who were already on that journey. Men like Andy Hartfield, Danny Ray, Kevin Moyer, Kevin Hearne, Tim Walter, Jeromy Puckett and Richard Muntz (and many others!) have been huge parts of my own journey. Women like my wife and Brenda Noland, Jodie Hartfield and others have also inspired me to pursue more. The point is, as you journey, look up and see who’s traveling with you. Invite others to the journey…you will be amazed at who will join the run!
- Stay close to those closest to you. I cannot imagine having experienced this amazing life without my wife Traci. She runs with me, and often is the one who picks me up when I’ve stumbled and fallen along the way. If you’re married, I hope your spouse is with you on the journey toward Overboard Living. If not, lead by example, pray like crazy and keep being transformed into the spouse you need to be. If you’re not married, make sure your closest friends are living the Overboard Life. The greatest richness of relationships here on earth will never be felt through shared-experiences or common hobbies. Instead, the greatest richness is experienced in living life with purpose. If your closest friends aren’t interested in Living Overboard, your chances of walking on the water with Jesus are slim. Challenge your friends, and learn to let them challenge you, as you seek the life of faith.
There’s no such thing as DIY when it comes to Overboard living. If you want to get out of the boat, you will need the help and support of others. Will you lead others out of the boat? Are there others walking on water who need your support -- will you join them? Let’s drop the idea that we can do this alone, and let’s embrace the help that God has made available.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water!