Programmed (Not) to Receive

Apologies to the Eagles for coopting this line from Hotel California and taking poetic license with it on top….


Difficulty with Accepting Help

I’d promised to write about the difficulty many (some would say most) people have with receiving vs. giving and something about this concept has been wriggling around in the back of my mind so here it is….it’s all about CONTROL. 

“People are uncomfortable with, or out-and-out refuse help because they want to CONTROL things. ”  You may quote me….

The Problem with Refusing Help

Why should it matter to the rest of us that people we could and would otherwise help refuse to ask us for our help and refuse that help if we offer it?  It matters because it’s in our human nature to want to be of service.  Helping others brings about blessings on the giver.  The denial of an offer of help is the denial of the opportunity for someone else to receive grace.

And if that’s not a compelling enough reason, here’s another.  There comes a point, maybe several points over the course, in a person’s life when he or she is not in a position to negotiate a n y t h i n g.  It’s at those times when you’re willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously LEAVING IT IN GOD’S HANDS.  To be clear, whether or not you personally believe in God you are by default, leaving it in His hands when you’re in a position of powerlessness.  Because there IS a God.  Period.

Problem for Would-Be Helpers

The ones surrounding a person in need of, but refusing, help are put in a powerless position as well.  We can see with our eyes and hear with our ears and just know from experience (and rational thinking) that someone needs help but they won’t acknowledge it, definitely aren’t asking for it, and vehemently refuse it when it’s offered.

In addition to the frustration that comes along with being put in this position there’s a level of anxiety that comes from knowing that when (not if, but when) things become critical or disaster strikes you’re on the hook for cleaning up the mess.  AND, not only cleaning up the mess but having to do so within a tight schedule and with limited resources.  Often the rescue is so much more costly, time-consuming, possibly heart-wrenching, and definitely a pain in the ass than giving the help would have been…think about it help-refusers.  This puts you in the unattractive position of being SELFISH when here you thought you were avoiding putting someone else out.  It’s true.

Advice for Some Would-Be Helpers

You too need to learn to leave it in God’s hands and this is vastly more difficult than it sounds, yet it’s absolutely essential.  Carrying around the responsibility for changing someone who refuses to change or refuses to be helped is robbing you of your own life.  Let me repeat that–If you spend all of your waking hours including staying up all night worrying about someone else you are sabotaging your own life.  You need to do the best you can then Let It Go.  To paraphrase an Al-Anon Recovery Slogan, “You can’t.  God Can.  Let Him.**with compliments to Lee Self, Keynote Speaker at the DC High Tech Prayer Breakfast.  You’ll be hearing more from me about this annual event.

May God Bless You!

Let All You Do



  1. Hi my name is Lisa and I am a help refuser too. I think I would rather be the martyr and feel “strong’ as opposed to feeling by weak by accepting help. Even when it comes to God I feel very much as though if I am capable of doing it or getting through it on my own, I SHOULD be doing it, as opposed to asking God for help when he has so many people who need help more than I do. Though provoking post. Thank you.

    • Thank YOU for your insight and comments Lisa – I am referring more to the people who clearly need help – or who are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to begin to help themselves. I was raised much like you – just do it yourself or suck it up and do without! And remember – God is Everything and Everywhere and if you’re asking for His help you’re not tying up His time – He has time for all of us! Best regards! Cynde

  2. My name is CracTpot. And I am a help refuser. Are there meetings? Some kind of patch I can wear? A gum I can chew to help with the feelings of guilt and responsibility? I spend my Sundays not even asking God for help because I already feel so indebted for all my blessing that I don’t want to waste any time in church saying anything but Thank you…yeah, I think I might have a bit of a problem :s

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