First of all, I will admit I’m not very good at asking for things – gifts, help, prayers, whatever. I have an extremely deep stubborn streak and like to think that I can do everything myself all the time. Asking for help, asking for support, and even asking for what I simply want is a hard thing for me. But, recently, I’ve been thinking about the art of asking…and how it makes me a better person.
Asking for help means I’m not self-reliant all the time. I know I can’t do it all myself, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. This time last year I was beyond burnt out at my job. Work was stressful, and I was close to miserable. I thought a lot about moving on to other jobs, and moving on to other places. I was discontented, and part of it was because I simply didn’t ask for help. I didn’t admit that I couldn’t do it all and having one more project thrown on my plate was close to sending me over the edge. I couldn’t admit that I wasn’t superwoman and that I needed someone to help with the simple and complex parts of my job.
I was equating asking for help with weakness, when the reality is that it is a sure sign of strength!
I also have a hard time asking for prayer support. This is just dumb. I know that’s one of the whole legs of my faith, but at the same time, I feel like my little prayer issues are so much smaller than “real” needs, so I just don’t ask for prayers, even when I know I need them. So, I have been making a conscious effort in the last two months to ask for more prayers, for little things (weight loss successes, etc) and big things (work, family, life). And, I can see and feel the difference in my heart, in my spirit, and in my own faith. Why is asking for prayer so hard? I think it goes back to the help issue for me. Asking for prayer means I can’t do it on my own! Do you see a trend here, because I totally do.
One of the areas where I have the hardest time asking for help is when it comes to asking for the things I want. I have the hardest time coming up with gift ideas, or admitting what I want to have for dinner or what movie I would choose to watch. I like to say that it’s because I’m easily pleased (which is true sometimes) but the reality is more often than not, I’m afraid my asking will not be in sync with the other person’s plans. And, then I will make things harder than they need to be for that person. So instead, I just don’t ask. I just go with the flow.
But that is changing, too.
I am learning to ask for what I want – “stuff,” food, entertainment, work-related, etc. I am learning to have an opinion and to voice it, even if it is the minority. I am learning that asking is fine. I don’t expect to always have my ask answered with a yes, but at least I’m learning the fine art of asking…and accepting!