Learning to ask for help

I have always struggled with asking for anything. Asking for help in particular has never been my forte. I have enough understanding now of my childhood to see where the pattern came from, but simply seeing the pattern isn’t enough. It requires actually stepping out and beginning to ask others to do things for me.

I know that many people suffer from the same problem. The fears may be slightly different, but the end result is the same, that asking for help is tremendously difficult. The root is usually one of the following:

Fear of rejection

Fear of losing control

Fear of being seen to be weak or incapable

Fear of being a burden

And again, even when we understand the root, it doesn’t magically make asking easier.

In the last month I have had to ask several people for help. I have had to ask someone to write a Foreword for the book I am working on. I have had to ask a bunch of well known authors to read and write comments on my book for the blurb. I have had to ask a few people to help out with the launch. And there have been a few personal issues that I have needed help with too.

What I have found is that practice makes it easier. I recognise that I am asking people to do a lot for me – in all cases it will require substantial effort. And yet in every case I have found a willingness to step up – even from people who don’t know me. It has been an extraordinary blessing.

I know that I will continue to sweat a little and procrastinate a lot when I need to ask for help. But this period of being forced to ask and receiving such willingness will be a good place to return to when I am next faced with having to reach out to others. I don’t think it will ever be easy, but learning to ask is an important skill.

4 thoughts on “Learning to ask for help

  1. Oh how your words hit me today – I have the most difficult time with this. Yet, I think of all the times that someone has asked me for help and what a joy it has been to help them.

    I cannot turn this around in my heart with ease!

    And what does it say of my prayer life if I can’t ask for help? That is what I will pray with today. Thank you for this, and for all of your wisdom so generously shared.

  2. Thanks for these thoughts Mags, it is a really important issue to think through because our reaction to asking for help tells us so much about ourselves, the heart picture that we live by and our perspective on others, God and life. As someone with increasing disabilities of hearing and sight loss I have had to learn to ask for and accept help in sometimes quite personal areas. For example, I cannot use the phone so any calls I need to make I have to ask others to make for me. I remember when my stepfather died and I needed to call my mum who was so distressed and it was very hard to expect a third party, even a close friend, to undertake such a call on my behalf. Similarly on the occasions I’ve had to speak to a bank or a credit card org and authorise a friend to give and receive my personal account details, it has been a huge step in being willing to trust.. With my sight I used to be very proud that even though I had poor vision I could still see all I needed to get around or to read any size print. That’s not the case now though and I frequently have to ask others to read things like letters, info or food packet instructions to me or even give me their arm to guide me if it is dark and an unfamiliar place. I can start to feel very small and that I would prefer not to do something rather than be a burden on anyone or be thought a fool, but then I receive such kindness and graciousness from the person I’ve asked that I realise I am actually blessing that person by asking them to give something to me that I cannot provide for myself. Everyone needs self worth yet so few feel they have anything significant to give and so to be asked to help someone in need is such a blessing to a person’s fulfilment and identity. I am always touched by the story of the woman of Samaria and how Jesus opened that life changing conversation with her by asking her if she could give him a drink. How humble that he allowed himself to be vulnerable and to receive from a ‘needy’ person, and what an amazing effect it had on her, enabling her to trust and to open up to truths about herself and receive peace. I find it hard sometimes for the restrictions that deafness and sight loss put upon my life but am so thankful for the opportunity it gives to receive God’s love through the way people respond and help me.

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