For the umpteenth time, I wring my hands and stare out the window. Bright overhead sunlight drenches every surface and corner of the view like a blanket of hope. I want to reach out and grab some of this lit-up courage. Instead, for the umpteenth time, I pace back and forth in my office before stopping in front of my laptop. I sit down and take a deep breath. Exhaling, I begin typing a question to my friend, one that involves me needing the dreaded H word.
Oh y’all, I can’t tell you how difficult it is for me to ask for help. Blame it on my years as an independent military wife, an unattractive leaning toward pride, a strong aversion to bothering people or all the above, but I don’t like asking for help. Heck, I don’t like needing help. While I am painfully aware of my own weaknesses and need for support, I hate the thought of burdening others in any way.
Still, this is a request that must be made, so I have to write the email. I type a few words, stop to tap my fingertips on my chin, then delete a few words. I’m going in circles, ’round and ’round like the Christmas wreath hanging on our black front door.
It’s then that God reminds me of the passage from the gospel Luke detailing Mary’s actions after the angel Gabriel told her she would give birth to Jesus. Immediately after Gabriel departs, Mary throws on her sandals and high-tails it to her pregnant cousin Elizabeth’s house. In Luke, it says Mary departed at once. According the The Message translation, Mary didn’t waste a minute.
I think about how this could have easily played out differently. Mary could have waited to leave, spending that time biting her nails and asking questions:
“What if this is a bad time to visit Elizabeth?”
“What if I’m in the way?”
“She’s probably really tired and what if I’m a bother?”
She didn’t latch onto any of these questions. Instead, she latched onto the details Gabriel gave–her cousin Elizabeth was also pregnant–and literally ran with it. Yes, Mary probably knew she could be a comfort to her older cousin, too. After all, they both shared the experience of remarkable pregnancies. But she also knew she needed Elizabeth’s help in processing this wild miracle, and so she respected that need by traveling to Elizabeth’s. What a kind gift to give herself!
As I sweat over this email, I think that perhaps I could give myself a little kindness for Christmas, too. I could start by remembering that asking for help is a move for me, not against. It shows strength, not weakness.
I could start by trusting that if God puts someone on my heart as one who could help ease a difficult situation, then it’s for a reason.
I could start by losing my opposition to the idea of asking for help and welcoming a lighthearted spirit that doesn’t take myself so seriously.
It’s okay–and very good– to have compassionate concern for other people and their schedules and to not take advantage.
But it’s also okay to have compassionate concern for myself. And sometimes that compassionate concern looks like stepping out of the circle and into the blanket of light that says a little help, please.
Is it easy or difficult for you to ask for help? How are you showing yourself a little kindness this Christmas season?
Deb Weaver says
I so relate! I trip over myself to help another, but abhor asking for help! This Christmas, I’m giving myself the space to feel. We lost my Dad this year, and recently we moved across the nation from our adult kids. We love our new home and are very happy, but when I’m sad and grieving, I’m also giving myself permission to feel that.
Giving yourself permission to feel the good and the hard…great reminder. Thanks, Deb. xo
Leigh Ann says
Ever since my husband was deployed it has been easier to ask for help but if people can’t help I don’t get my panties in a bind. Another point to ponder is that you are blessing your friends when you allow them to help you. They love you and love opportunities to show you that love. It strengthens relationships.
Great point to ponder, Leigh Ann. Thank you…
Sweet Kristen! A piece of advice I received as a very-wet-behind-the-ears 2nd Lieutenant’s wife (and all of 20 years old) from our squadron commander’s wife has lingered in my heart for over 37 years now. Newly arrived in Germany, we lived on the economy and had to wait months for our car to arrive. Meaning, we had to get rides to EVERYTHING we attended. Work, church, trips to the commissary…EVERYTHING. I was invited to a ladies Bible study through the chapel and declined the invitation. I didn’t want anyone to have to drive to get me or take me home. The sweet and very wise woman looked me in the eye and said, “Mollianne, when you don’t ask for help, you deprive someone the joy of being a blessing.” Wow! What a lesson to learn for someone who 37 years later , just last week, debated on texting my sister…my own sister…to ask for help concerning a very simple matter. It never gets easier, but I do it. Because I know how it blesses me to help others. Mary was full of grace, and to me that means she was able to give as well as receive. Hard lessons. But good lessons. Thank you for sharing from your precious heart!
Susan G. says
Praying for strength, peace, comfort, and joy for you! Also praying for those close to you will give you the ‘hands on’ help you need as well.
And nope, I am not that good at asking for help either…I do love to help others though. 🙂
Merry Christmas Kristen!
Beth Williams says
I am the encouraging type. One who will rush to assist in any situation. It can be hard, especially as strong military wives to ask for help. God wants us to share in each other’s burdens. Not asking for help we are depriving others of the joy/happiness they receive from assisting us.
This Christmas I’m giving myself plenty of permission to ask for advice and help! It might make the difference and help me sort things out better!