Last week Wendy shared about how we, as women, are created to be helpers and life-givers. Her post got me thinking more on the topic of womanhood and being a helper…
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”Genesis 2:18
Did you know that God calls us, as women, to be helpers to our husbands?
If that statement makes you cringe, you aren’t alone.
Current bestselling Christian books showcase a variety of ways to maximize “self-care,” find more “rest”, and become the best “you.” Understandably, when the culture around us is so focused on ourselves, the idea of living our lives helping others is certainly cringe worthy.
Christian culture today shakes its head at this idea of wives being helpers. To be a helper is demeaning, de-humanizing, and is to become a doormat.
Or is it?
When my husband and I were first married almost seven years ago, being a helper to him was not a priority in my mind. He was a strong, capable man and I had plenty of things on my own plate to focus on (like a career and hobbies).
But then I began reading the Bible alongside other women of all ages and stages of life. I listened to their wisdom as we studied God’s Word, and I was troubled by Genesis 2:18… I was skeptical of this whole “helper” thing. To be a helper would mean to focus on myself less and focus more on the needs of others. And to be honest, I didn’t like that idea. I really liked focusing on myself. But as I spent time in the Word, I began to see that living out my God-given responsibility as a helper was not demeaning, de-personalizing, or to be a doormat. In reality, being a helper meant living a selfless, humble life modeled after the life of Christ. But in order to begin living more selflessly, there were a few popular lies that would need to be uprooted from my heart.
Helpers Are Doormats
I do have a lovely doormat by our front door. It’s a chic, plain, gray doormat straight from IKEA. I don’t think anyone who has come into our home has ever noticed it, and I don’t find it particularly helpful for much (except absorbing muddy snow and rain).
I’m not sure where our culture gathered the idea that a woman who is a helper to her husband is just a doormat. Doormats aren’t helpful, they just kind of sit there. A “doormat” type of woman who refuses to think, speak, or act is not a helper. While “doormat” is a noun, “helping” is a verb. When we are helpers, we actively think, speak, and act in ways that lift up, encourage, and help others.
Let’s pretend I am helping a friend build a house (if you know my level of handiness then you know this is not a realistic scenario, but stay with me). If my friend asked me to bring over a hammer, it would be painfully unhelpful for me to simply stand there and stare at my friend. In order to actually help build the house, I would need to take action and actively help.
To be a doormat is not of particular help to anybody. Don’t be a doormat. Let’s actively use our words, thoughts, and actions to love and encourage others!
Helping Is Demeaning
Once while working in the hospital I had a patient who had been stabbed in the chest. His lungs were filling with fluid and he needed an emergency chest tube insertion. Without it, he would suffocate. As the doctor prepared the insertion site, he asked me to help by handing him the medical tools he would need to insert the tube.
I had two options.
I could view his request for me to help him as demeaning: Handing over medical tools is certainly not as impressive as cutting open a chest. I would receive nowhere near the amount of glory for handing over a sterile bandaid as he would for putting a tube into this man’s lung.
I could help. This patient would die without a chest tube. By working alongside the doctor, together we could save this man’s life. Opening the plastic wrapping of a sterile knife may not seem glorious. Yet it was necessary and of invaluable help. As a nurse, my goal was not to glorify myself or outshine the doctor, but to do whatever was needed to save the lives of those entrusted to my care.
Being a helper seems demeaning when we are focused on our own glory.
Being a helper seems demeaning when we are focused on comparing ourselves to others.
Helping Is De-Personalizing
What about my own goals?
Jesus came to do the will of the Father (John 6:38).
He came to save sinners from their sin (John 3:16).
John the Baptist came to help prepare the way for Christ (John 1:22-23).
Helping does not rob us of our “self” and individuality.
Helping allows us model our attitudes after Christ (Philippians 2:3-7).
When we humbly die to ourselves (Luke 9:23) we can fight sin and help others fight sin as well.
When we humbly decrease ourselves so others may increase (John 3:30) we live with the attitude of Christ.
Helping is hard. Killing the selfish desires of our hearts is hard. So hard, in fact, that we must rely on the ultimate Helper, the Holy Spirit, (John 14:16-31 & John 16:5-15), to help us in this endeavor.
Some Closing Thoughts
Praise God that He has given us the perfect helper, the Holy Spirit, to help us fight sin and live lives pleasing to God. The Spirit is not less important or glorious because of His role in helping us.
-The Spirit is not a doormat, but actively helps us. As Jesus says in John 14:26, the Spirit will “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
-He is not demeaned, but is part of the triune God!
-The Spirit is not de-personalized, but uniquely the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, our helper.
May we pray each day that the Spirit, would help us to live humbly and selflessly as we help those He has put in our lives.