There I was in Sweden, visiting Daughter #4 in Bible school.
While my daughter was in class, I wandered around the campus. A study option at that school was learning to lead adventure trips so they had a ropes course and team-building challenges on their property.
That afternoon I enjoyed watching a group of high school kids doing an initiative called The Maze.
Ropes and fencing formed serpentine pathways, and each participant entered the puzzle, blindfolded.
The goal, of course, was to find the way through the maze.
The instructions were simple: No talking. And if you need help, raise your hand and someone would come.
What the participants didn’t know was that the maze was purposely designed with no exit. Their only hope of getting out was by raising their hand. Then the leader would come and remove their blindfold so they could walk out together.
Whenever I am physically sick or emotionally discouraged under the load of life, I rarely call someone to bring me soup or come pray for me.
Last week — although it was really nothing — I got so happy when a neighbor asked me to take her trashcans in off the street. Such a tiny thing gave me a big joy.
I love helping others, but asking for help?
Well, that’s complicated.
Back in Sweden, some of those high schoolers were in the maze for a long time. After everyone got out, they sat around a picnic table to debrief the activity.
I, of course, couldn’t understand the language, but I imagined they were discussing what they had been thinking about and feeling while blindfolded in the maze and why they raised their hand when they did.
I was wondering what I would have thinking and feeling and how long it would have taken me to raise my hand.
Last week I found a book on a friend’s bookshelf called “Daring Greatly.” Brown, the author, wrote that being able to ask for help is a crucial part of connecting. Of building community. Of living ‘Wholeheartedly.’
We all need help sometimes, and “Until we can receive help with an open heart, we never really give with an open heart.”
I had to think about that a long while.
I must receive help with an open heart, in order to give with an open heart.
There are lots of reasons why it’s hard for me to receive help. My pride. Independent spirit. Not wanting to feel obligated to pay you back somehow.
And shame. I feel bad for being needy. I judge myself.
Then, wouldn’t it follow that I am also unconsciously judging you when you are needy?
I am sad about all this judgment, and I want to change. I want to learn to ask for and receive help with an open heart.
Because this is what God wants: Free hearts. Connection. Community. Wholehearted living.
Life can be like a confusing maze. We all need help to find our way.
And here’s some good news: Jesus is always watching for raised hands.