Are you feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of this New Year, with too many responsibilities on your to do list? Maybe it’s time to ask your husband for help!
Today my good friends Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory are joining me to talk about how to stop feeling quite so overwhelmed. They’ve just published an AMAZING book called Overwhelmed (wow, do you see a theme here?), and I asked them to share something with you today–a little change in attitude and thought that could turn everything around.
Here’s Cheri, on behalf of her and Kathi:
“The rolls are ruined!”
I stare into the breadmaker at a heap of sticky dough and a pile of flour that’s somehow evaded the mixing blade for the last 30 minutes.
Reaching for a rubber scraper, I attempt to salvage my family’s favorite part of Christmas dinner.
How could I have forgotten to set a five-minute timer? If I start over now, it’ll be two hours until we eat and …
“Do you need help?” my husband asks.
My irritation switches, from my own failure to his over-eager offer of assistance.
“No,” I snap. “I’ve got it.”
As Daniel leaves me to duke it out with the dough on my own, I feel the gnaw of regret.
He caught me off guard, I tell myself, trying to assuage my guilt. I had barely started assessing the problem and wasn’t ready to discuss a solution until…
On the surface, my thoughts seem reasonable.
But I recognize the truth beneath all my rationalizing.
I didn’t decline my husband’s help because he offered it the wrong way or at the wrong time.
I rejected my husband’s help because I am unhelp-able.
Why We’re So Unhelp-Able
I’ve taken great pride in never asking for help. Always being the helper, never the helpee. Just the thought of asking for help felt so selfish.
My childhood role models indoctrinated me with the unspoken rule: “The only time you can ask for help is when you’re in crisis.”
So for more than four decades, I’ve had a habit of refusing help until it’s too late for anything other than rescue.
4 Ways to Become More Help-Able
Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to become more help-able.
And let me tell you: this kind of change takes serious effort. It would be so much easier to just keep doing what comes naturally to me. To keep refusing help under the guise of being “unselfish.”
But 1 Corinthians 13:5b tells me that “[love] does not insist on its own way.”
It’s been sobering to realize that the way I reject my husband’s help isn’t unselfish; it’s actually unloving.
Here are four intentional ways I’ve been working toward becoming more help-able:
1. Recognize that being un-help-able is my problem.
I have to resist the urge to make it my husband’s fault that I’m so un-help-able. It’s so easy to spin a story about how He didn’t offer the right kind of help. At the right time. In the right tone of voice. To assure myself that If only he had ________, then I would have gladly accepted his help!
There’s a word for this line of thinking. It’s not flattering, but it is fitting:
A primary cause of my un-help-ablity is my own desire for control.
2. Say “Yes, please” when offered help.
My rejection of help isn’t limited to my husband. My knee-jerk answer to everyone offering help has typically been, “Nope. I’ve got it. Thanks anyway.”
So now I’m intentionally choosing to accept help from pretty much anyone who offers.
Even when I’m sure I can carry all the packages to my car all by myself: “Yes, please.”
Even when I really can open the door all by myself: “Yes, please.”
To make it a habit at home, I’m practicing it everywhere I go.
3. Say, “Thank you” after receiving help.
Learning to say an honest “thank you” has been far harder than expected.
I find myself avoiding eye contact, wanting to rush through and get it over with, as if discounting the help I’ve been given will somehow minimize my embarassment at having to depend on someone other than myself.
But it turns out that receiving help isn’t just about me. Giving a heart-felt “thank you” creates a moment of connection, vulnerability, intimacy: the very things I want most in my marriage.
4. Practice asking for help when I don’t even need it.
Yes, you read that right: I’m learning to ask for help even when it’s not necessary.
I’m learning to say, “Could you help me with ______”? and to be fine with whatever his answer may be. Sometimes, he’s able to help; other times, he’s not.
Either way, I am becoming a wife who responds, “Yes, please!” when my husband asks, “Do you need help?” and who outright asks for help, as well.
Let Him Help
I used to try so hard to prove I could do it all, on my own. It was such an overwhelming, isolating way to live.
As I’ve been learning how to ask for and receive help, I’ve discovered a vital truth:
I can’t be my best all by myself.
I need help. We all do.
These days, I try to ask for help soon enough that others—especially my husband—can give it easily, on their own terms.
I keep encouraging myself: You don’t have to wait until a crisis to ask for help.
And giving myself permission: You can ask early. You can ask often.
You can ask for help when you don’t even need it.
Wow, that’s revolutionary, isn’t it? It reminds me of that scene in the movie Date Night, where Steve Carrell and Tina Fey are in a car and he’s saying, “I would love to help, but you never ask me. You never leave room for me.” It was actually quite moving.
If you’ve related to what Cheri was saying here, then Kathi and Cheri have a FREE resource they’d like to share with you, and a chance to win a copy of their book Overwhelmed!
Here’s their FREE resource:
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life? Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from Overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as our gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change.
And now, here’s how you can win! Kathi and Cheri would like to send a copy of Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity to one of our readers!
Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?
Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…
• trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
• decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
• replace fear of the future with peace in the present
You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.
To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:
#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below.
#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.
That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on next Thursday, January 12. Canadian and U.S. residents only, please! (Sorry to everyone else!)
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.
Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.