Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

The Fear of Help

Sharing this {revived link} today with the lovely ladies over at the #WordsOfComfort Linkup with the wonderful TGA Writes!
I hope you join us for more words of comfort as we prepare for another week coming.

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I can see the scene in my head even now.

I was in serious trouble, with no way out.

Everything was a giant tangled mess. I could feel the walls closing in on me. I had shortness of breath, my heart was pounding, I was light-headed. I could feel panic starting to swell. Alarms were going off. Tears were on the verge of appearing. Limbs began to lose all feeling.
I felt confined. I felt helpless.

That’s what happens when you’re alone in a change room, and the dress you’ve tried on has NO give, and you realise the only enclosure is in the back, which you neglected to open before you dove in head first.

Yep. Stuck in a change room. Who’s the boss? I’m the boss.

The once tame and slightly tacky change room with the anemic music and distorted mirrors becomes a fear chamber, people.

Will you be locked in there forever, in a dress one size too small, with your left arm stuck halfway up into the dress, your neck cramping, eyes glazing over in your contorted state, till they close the store, and lock up?

Will you be forced to make a one-armed escape through the employee’s door with alarms sounding while you yell into the night, “I promise I’ll be back with the merchandise when I can crow bar my way out in the privacy of my own house!”

Seriously, I’ve returned things with that very excuse and no one blinked an eye, so maybe this really happens more than I think?

Call me a prude but I almost tried the Mission Impossible theme song escape when another more practical option dawned on me. Why? Because it involved asking for help. Someone unknown to me was going to have to come in and extract me from the dress. I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own. Someone was going to know I wasn’t in control of the whole dress mess! Someone was going to see me for who I really was when the covering was removed!


And there’s the rub. If we ask for help, we fear that someone is going to see just how imperfect we are. How out of control we are. How helpless we can be. And what we really are when you take away all the dressing.

Fear keeps us from getting help.

We fear being laughed at. Talked about. Used as an example.

We fear being told we’re the cause. That we’re flawed. That we’re incapable.

We fear we won’t like the answer. The work involved. Or the people who have the answers for us.

That’s a LOT of fear. And I’m really just skimming the surface.

I know deep down inside that I just really fear what help is going to feel like. Right? Isn’t that what it boils down to?

Problem is, if we don’t seek help for whatever it is that has us constrained or plaguing us, then we’re all stuck like I was in that hideous change room for who knows how long. Eventually, someone is going to come looking for you. And what are we going to do?

Would have been a nifty feat, pretending I actually wanted to wear the dress in my contorted state, and walking out of the store (after paying) getting puzzling looks.

I needed to stop fearing help, and just get free.

Pretending never works forever. It’s exhausting. It’s more exhausting than fear. And it makes people wonder if you’re a walking sewing experiment gone wrong.

Pretending will wear you down far more than fear ever can.

Why? Because as you face fear, you gain courage. And the more courage you gain, the less fear has a hold on you. And the less it has a hold on you, the more help you can access.

And the more help and support you can access, the better you will cope.

In my devotional yesterday I read:

Psalm 27:1

 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

If God is for us, what do we have to fear? You’ll find hundreds of “fear not’s” in scripture. That’s a lot of fear not’s and a lot of trust and help instead.

Here’s what we need to cling to; Real help doesn’t make you feel small, or stupid, or inadequate. Real help teaches, inspires, and transforms! A fear of help will rob you of amazing things.

Of healing. Of freedom. Of dignity. Of peace.

Did I stay forever in my odd cocoon dress? No, I made eye contact past the door to a girlfriend and she quickly came to my rescue and my dignity.

Did I stay forever in my chronic cocoon of depression? No, in fact I met a doctor who was very nice and offered to help me get past nearly 28 years of thought processes that happened when I didn’t know I had depression, and work on what tendencies need to go and what lifestyle changes will work best for me.

And it didn’t hurt. I took a step, and the fear was gone.

What is it you’ve been afraid to ask for help with lately? What does fear have you all wrapped up in? Trapped with? And what kind of goodness is it holding you back from?

We start first with calling on a God who will never deal in captivity, only freedom!

New things start to happen when we ask for help. New things start to heal, new things start to develop. We just have to take the first step.

This fear of help has to stop.

So we can start.


image by christine duncan

image by
christine duncan

1 Comment

  1. Christine, I can relate to that fear of asking for help. So silly, isn’t it sometimes? So glad you are opening up honest dialogue about this with your friends here. Thanks for sharing on #wordsofcomfort!

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