There are so many opportunities for self-help and do-it-yourself projects any more and frankly I love it. If I think I can save money by doing something myself, I am ready to go for it. There are also a lot of self-help books, books that tout the “You-can-do-it!” mindset. While this philosophy may seem new to this generation, actually the self-help philosophy is quite old. Did you ever hear the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? I thought it was an old American saying, but after looking into this phrase further, I discovered that it actually originated in ancient Greece and was illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables. If you think it originated in the Bible, I hate to tell you, but it didn’t. It sounds good and yes, I do believe that God does want us to take action, but we are to act on our faith, the faith and strength that He gives us. All that we are and all that we have really comes from God. When we act on the self-help mentality, we are really only using the talents, determination and strength that God gives us each day whether we realize it or not.
So is self-help helpful or harmful? I think it can be both. I think God does allow us to try things and enjoys our efforts, much like we invite our kids to try things and watch as they grow and learn whether that is feeding themselves, learning to ride a bike or eventually drive a car. We applaud their efforts and help clean-up their messes. Do you want to try something new? Go for it! Read those self-help books, look up the You-Tube videos on how to do it and go for it. But when self-help becomes prideful and begins to leave God out, then watch out! Let’s face it! There are some situations where we desperately need God. There are some things that we will never learn on our own, we need God and others to help us on our journey. Some situations can’t be resolved through self-help and yes, our self-help may end up making a mess of things. That’s okay! Clean up the mess and look up because God is waiting and ready to hear your cry for help. He wants to walk with you through every situation you face and He never fails. He gives us His Holy Spirit to live within, guiding and strengthening us for whatever we face everyday. God wants to be our first source of help and strength, not our last. When we are living in tune with the Holy Spirit, then we can step out in faith, acting on the direction that God gives us. Who knows God may even lead us to that perfect self-help video or He may very well lead us to the pages of His Word for encouragement, hope and instructions to help us live life abundantly.
Self-help or God-help? Which will it be? I’m turning to God first. I’m relying on Him above everything else. And as I watch that next self-help video, I’m going to ask Him to lead me and thank Him that He is the giver of all knowledge and wisdom. I’m so glad I can completely and fully rely on God. I would make a mess of things otherwise.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I am so independent at times. I think I can do so many things by myself. I have this attitude that if you want something done, then dig in and do it yourself. Figure it out. You can do it if you put your mind to it. Yet that very attitude can make a mess of things. It leaves out allowing others to help and it leaves out you. Forgive me for my prideful attitude. I know that I need you. I know that all that I am is because of what you have done in my life and who you have made me to be. You are truly the giver of all good gifts. You give wisdom and knowledge when I desperately need it. Many times that wisdom and knowledge is through your Word, but it can come through others too or even from those self-help videos. You are the creator of all wisdom. Remind me, Lord, to look to you first and seek you when I have a problem. Teach me to walk in step with your Spirit and step out in faith when you call me to take those steps. Show me as a parent and grandparent, how to encourage my kids to take self-initiative, but also to rely on you. May my kids and grandkids never forget that you are the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Your help is what we truly need. Teach us to seek your face first and to honor you in all we do. Amen
HELPING YOUR KIDS LEARN TO DEPEND ON GOD
* Depend on God yourself. Let your child know that you are asking God for help.
Read your Bible and take a verse from what you have read to pray for your child.
Some people have said to me, “I just can’t seem to understand the Bible for myself.” 1. I suggest finding a version that is easy to read. There are so many out there, there has to be one that is right for you. I even like to read the Easy to Read Children’s Bible for myself sometimes. 2. Get involved in a Bible study group. It helps when you have others to share with and learn from. 3. Just read and ask God to help your understand. There may be one verse that stands out to you. What is that one verse saying to you personally?
* When your child has fears or concerns, teach them to talk to God about those things together. Pray with them.
* Get a simple Children’s Bible and read the Bible together.If your child is learning to read, have them read it to you. Make it fun. Use funny voices for different people in the Bible, Act it out together. Bible reading shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a delight to read the Bible together. Simplify to make it easy for kids to understand.
HELPING CHILDREN LEARN SELF-INITIATIVE
- Allow your children ample time to do things or at least try to do things themselves.
- Praise their efforts. Work alongside them. Be the first to tackle a job or learn something new together. Encourage their desire to help.
- Help your child make a plan and set goals on something they are wanting to accomplish such as save for that new bike they want.
- Always encourage their desire to help others. Help them find ways they can spread kindness and generosity.
- Encourage your child to keep trying when they mess-up or make mistakes. Mess-ups are a part of life. When a mistake happens, get up and try again.
- Playing a sport can help your child learn teamwork and initiative, plus it gets your child moving. Taking initiative is active. It means taking action – seeing something that needs to be done and doing it.
SHARE A STORY: Abraham Trusts – Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
TRUST: Knowing that I can love and obey God because He does what He says and He cares for me.
One day God visited Abraham when he was sitting by his tent. Abraham quickly fixed something for the Lord to eat. (Pretend to stir some food.) While they were eating, God said, “Next year you and Sarah will have a son.” (Pretend to rock a baby.) Sarah laughed. (Say, “Ha, ha, ha!”) She thought, “Abraham and I are much too old to have a baby.” But nothing is too hard for God. He can do anything! (Stretch arms outwards.)
What do you think happened the next year? Abraham and Sarah did have a baby boy just like God had promised. (Pretend to rock a baby.) Sarah laughed again. (Say, “Ha, ha, ha!”) This time she laughed because she was so happy! Abraham and Sarah named their baby boy, Isaac. They loved baby Isaac. They thanked God for their new baby. (Fold hands as though praying.) Abraham trusted God because he knew that God always does what He says He will do even when it seems impossible and God did do what He said he would do. Abraham trusted God and God did something amazing for Abraham. He gave him a son.
But that’s not the end of the story, you can trust God too just like Abraham. God keeps His promises. He does what He says He will do. He will keep His promises to you too, because He loves and cares for you. When you have something hard to do, you can talk to God and trust Him to help you. (Fold hands as though praying.)
MEMORIZE: Psalm 31:14 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Lord, – (Hold hands outwards)
I trust – (Make fists and pull inwards)
In you – (Point upwards.)
You are my God – (Clap hands.)
Thank you for loving and taking care of me. I love you too. I know that you can do anything. Help me remember to talk to you when I have hard things to do. Help me to trust you too. Amen
KNOW: God can do anything. I can depend on Him.
TALK ABOUT: Trusting God when we need help.
ASK: Who can do anything? God can do anything.
What can you do? Pray, ask God for help and trust Him everyday.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Thank God for your child and encourage your child to be thankful for his family.
- Encourage your child as they learn to do new things. Learn to do something new together. (Warning this may require extra time and patience on your part
Plan extra time into your schedule to allow for learning.) Remind your child that even when something is difficult or impossible for him, it’s not impossible for God. God can do anything!