Tuesday, February 22, 2022

I Don't Need Another Self-Help Book

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Shiromani Kant

"I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lordthe Maker of heaven and earth."

~Psalm 121:1-2

I’m tired. Perhaps you can relate? As I write these words (though they will be published in a couple weeks), I sit here in awe of the fact that we have one more day and my husband's deployment will be over. There is so much excitement which comes with that fact, but I also sit here amazed by all the life that has happened over the past 7 months and all that I have had to tackle on my own, and the thought comes to my mind… we are all so tired. We’re busy. We’re overwhelmed. We’re stressed. We’re burdened. We’re frustrated. And have I mentioned that we’re tired?

Everywhere we turn there are more demands, more to-dos, more expectations, more busyness, and no end in sight. As if that weren’t enough, the prevailing message we are sold in our culture today is that there is no alternative available to us. No break, no help, no hope, no rest from the rat race. Because, after all, if we don’t do it all, how will it get done? If we don’t help ourselves, how will we succeed? If we don’t keep running, how will we ever reach the finish line of our goals?

And so, as our plates get piled up higher with more and more responsibilities and our energy levels droop with each and every addition, we are left wondering what we must do in order to get ahead of it all. Enter the multi-million dollar “self-help” industry. Books upon books are published in the “self-help” genre, gurus are hosting conferences by the hundreds promising all the tools you need to make things happen, and podcasts are exploding with this common and popular message. But allow me to let you in on a little secret…

I don’t need another self-help book. I need more than that. And so do you.

I need relief from hearing it all depends on me.
How overwhelming to attempt to do life under the crushing weight of believing it all depends on me! If I drop one ball, stop one plate from spinning, or take one thing off of one of said plates, then it will all come crashing down and my friends, family, and co-workers will be ruined forever as a result. I need relief from that message, don’t you? I need the truth, the reminder that there is One Who upholds it all and Who sovereignly has everything under control. I need to know it doesn’t depend on me, but instead depends on Him and His big and capable shoulders. 

I need rescue from the idea that I am in control of my own destiny.
Who wants to think that they are in control of their own future? Sure, that sounds good if we are aiming at a particular goal or wanting to secure a certain future. But what if things go south and our husband leaves us, our child dies, or we lose our job? Then what? If I’m in control of my own destiny and that is what happens, there is nowhere else for me to turn, because I have ruined everything by not being good enough, not doing enough, or not helping myself enough.

I need rest from thinking I have to pull myself up by my bootstraps.
The isolationist culture in which we live where everyone is an island unto himself, no one supposedly needs help, and we are all capable of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps is a lonely place to be. It’s an exhausting way to live. And it’s a dangerous belief to have.

I need a greater Hope and Help than what I can find within myself.
It has been said that “God helps those who help themselves”, but, friend, that ain’t in the Word! The truth is that God is ready and willing and happy to help anyone who needs His help the minute they turn to Him and ask Him for it. He’s there, with arms open wide and love in His heart. And that’s what I need. That’s what you need, too – the realization that the hope and help we desperately need is actually available to us. We need only turn to it. 

So, no, I don’t need another self-help book. I need more than that. I need the help of the One Who made my self, Who is infinitely greater, stronger, more capable than I am. That’s far better than “helping” myself ever could be!

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