I’m a round-about asker, I don’t like to ask people directly to help me. Here’s what that looks like.
Me (to the air and family by-standers): “Looks like the trash is ready to go out.”
Family by-standers: Silence
Me: “Yep, after lunch, the trash really needs to go out.”
Family by-standers: Silence, accompanied with putting more in the trash.
Me: “Would be nice if someone would take out the trash.”
Family by-standers: “What’s for dinner?”
Me: Exacerbated “I guess I’ll take the trash out.”
Family by-stander: “I would’ve done that – you just had to ask.”
But I don’t want to ask. I want them to know that I need the trash taken out, that I need help. Oh wait, I guess that means I presume they are wired exactly like me, but they’re not, and so I get myself all wound up and frustrated.
Why is it so hard to ask for help? I think, especially for women, it’s tough. I, for one, have such a need to be seen as having it all together, keeping all the balls in the air. But the truth is, I don’t have it all together. I’ve spent a lot time thinking about that, that hesitancy. A lot of it has to do with not wanting to look incapable, or look “less than.” I was recently encouraged to flip that around though, think about what I would think if someone asked me to help them. The truth is, I would think, “awesome, would love to help,” and I would be appreciative of having been asked.
I was thinking about this in relation to prayer the other day. I know that in the past, I have rarely asked friends to pray for me. Will ask for prayer for my family, people I care about, but rarely for me. If I can’t ask someone to help me, how possibly could I ask someone to do something as personal as pray for me?? That would mean I’m vulnerable, that I have problems, that my life is not perfect. Oh wait, in fact my life is not perfect. If yours is, awesome, but you’re an anomaly. We all have stuff. The way I’m wired though is to show people bright and shiny, not the hot mess side. If you see the hot mess side, you might not want to stick around – at least that’s what I’ve told myself. Except the thing is, I think people do see the hot mess side, and they care about me anyways, they stick around. Well that’s just crazy, I think, but my heart warms a little at the thought.
I asked a friend at work to pray for me the other day, and she thanked me for letting her pray for me. I was blown away. I’d never thought that someone would be thankful to pray for me. But back to the flip side thing, I’d be happy and feel blessed to pray for them. Why I’m so hard on myself, or minimize that other people may care about my needs is all part of my stuff, the hot mess side. What is finally starting to sink in though is the truth… to the same degree that I care about, want to help, want to pray for people, they feel the same about me. I can show up exactly as I am, not hiding any of the messy stuff, and that’s going to be ok with my family, my friends, those I care about. Knowing that is still sinking in. What is sinking in is that if people already see some of that messy side of me, I don’t have to spend as much time worrying about being bright and shiny, they’re going to care about me anyway.
So for you…people love you, care about you, want to help you, want to pray for you, just like you do for them. If we can really, in our hearts, believe that, believe how blessed we really are, it’s a pretty freeing feeling. Go on, give it a try, I’ll help you.