Ask, seek, knock. Even though it’s super uncomfortable.

Ask, seek, knock. Even though it’s super uncomfortable.

Ask, seek, knock: even though it's really uncomfortable.

We had prayers for healing in church yesterday. Everyone was invited to go forward and ask for healing in mind, body, or spirit, and a priest would lay hands on them and anoint them with oil.

I knew I should go forward (because, this), but I didn’t want to because 1. I’m an introvert who would rather sit quietly in her pew on any given Sunday morning, and 2. I didn’t want to admit I needed something, with my actions, in front of the whole church. That kind of vulnerability isn’t comfortable.

I probably would have just stayed in my pew. Except. 

Over the past year I’ve been learning the power of asking.

This year has felt like a string of come-to-Jesus moments, where I’m being forced to realize–and admit to myself, and others–what’s missing in my life. As personal epiphanies go, that category is no fun.

For a prosaic example, it wasn’t until I was able to voice that we’d like to join a homeschool group that we found one (or it found us, really). It wasn’t until I asked for help in finding writing partners that I did.

It did not feel good to say I needed something, to say I was lacking. But I’m (re-)learning that it’s the beginning of everything good.

People have been eager to help, but they couldn’t–until they knew what I needed. By saying what I need–what I’m missing–I’m filling those gaps.

I’m learning the power of the ask.

It’s painful and vulnerable and kind of terrible (sound familiar?), but it’s worth it.

(I got out of my pew and went forward. The lines were long with those waiting to be prayed for: there were lots of us asking. I wonder if they had to talk themselves into going forward like I did.)

Let’s talk about asking: is it hard for you? Uncomfortable? Can you tell us about a time it’s been worth it?

P.S. Today’s the last day to pre-order Frozen. (This is the first Disney movie my kids have been completely obsessed with.) We ordered this Blu-Ray + digital copy combo for $19.96, which is the best deal I’ve seen.)

43 comments | Comment

43 comments

  1. I’ve felt the same way specifically about healing this year. My hesitation comes from the same places: I’m an introvert, but mostly I don’t want to admit that I need anything.

    I also realized that I’ve put pressure on myself when it comes to healing – if I believe “more” or “harder,” then it will work. Obviously, that thought pattern misses the point that healing is a gift from God, not something for me to earn. It’s easier not to ask than to feel like I’ve “failed.” Like you, I’ve been overcoming the fear and insecurity, and in my case, straight up pride, and asking for prayer.

    Thanks for writing about this. It’s really encouraging to see someone else voice the same struggles. (Not that I wish for anyone to struggle, but you know what I mean!)

  2. I really struggle with asking as well. I’m an Air Force wife and I’ve always taken a certain amount of pride in being able to take care of everything myself while my husband is away on missions. The last month has been particularly rough but because he is home there is a part of me that feels like asking for help isn’t ok. We have so many friends dealing with so much more-my problems are “big” enough.
    When I finally convinced myself that was ridiculous and asked for a little help…I was floored by the response. Friends and family helped in ways I never imagined, and not only did the actual help make things better, it made me feel so loved, which in turn made all the stress easier to deal with.
    I’m going to try to continue to push myself in this for the rest of the year. It’s hard being vulnerable-especially in a public setting, but it’s so worth it!

  3. Jessica says:

    What a timely piece. I struggle with asking as well. As I’ve done some digging through Daring Greatly and the enneagram, I’ve wondered if my lack of asking for help and relying on people has caused me to struggle with friendships. Despite being an introvert, I’ve always had a large circle of acquaintances. I’m comfortable chatting with anyone at my daughter’s preschool, happy to attend events at a mom’s club where I don’t know anyone….but always fail to move to that next step of real, genuine friendship. I think there is something very intimate about being able to ask someone for help (or being asked) that implies a certain level of trust and connection. As I force myself to be more vulnerable in these ways, I find that my relationships are richer for it.

    Good for you for doing it 🙂

    • Shannon says:

      Daring Greatly was totally eyeopening to me regards to friendship. I knew I struggled with it but now I know why. Being vulnerable sure doesn’t come easily, ‘tho.

    • Anne says:

      Yes yes yes! Great thoughts, Jessica. I’ll be thinking about what you said about friendship and vulnerability and asking for help for a long time, I’m sure.

  4. Kelty says:

    Wow. This is very timely for me and good encouragement. I’m an extrovert but I HATE HATE HATE asking for help or things I need. I think it’s mostly a control issue – when you ask for help, things get bigger than just you. It’s ridiculous and inhibitive.

    I had some good friends in college who were Missionary Kids. They asked for things fearlessly, BIG THINGS, like borrowing people’s cars and staying at their house. At first, I thought it was weird but now I admire and envy their freedom from the illusion of not needing help. It threw a big contrast between our upbringings – mine of middle to upper middle class, where there was “virtue” in not needing any help versus theirs of growing up watching their parents literally ask for their livelihood to be paid for by people to support their work to spread the gospel (which is absolutely good and right!) I don’t want to teach my children to close up and never ask for what they need, to miss opportunities to need and be needed by others. But to do that means I have to lead by example. (AGH! Why does parenting always come back to that.)

    Thank you for putting this out there! (or out here, rather.) It inspires the courage for the rest of us to be vulnerable. 🙂

  5. Monet says:

    While I know you, Anne, understand the definition of an Introvert…basically one whom needs alone time to re-charge their batteries or re-gain their energy (whereas Extroverts need to be around people and events, to get energized). While some Introverts can be shy, I think some may be confused in thinking being an Introverts automatically implies you are shy. I am also an Introvert, I can be the life of the party, but I can only handle being around large groups for a short period of time before it becomes to much and I am drained. @Jessica is someone I can relate to because that is exactly how I am! I love people and can chat and talk to anyone. But, I re-charge and gain my energy best by having alone time, that is Heaven to me, but I am far from shy.. I just wanted to clear up any misunderstandings about the commonly held misconception that if one is an Introvert that they are automatically shy and feel uncomfortable in Social Settings. That being said.. I guess because at an early age I had to learn to ask for what I needed. So now it is not that hard. Like you stated, most people are more than eager to help. And don’t forget, most people are more worried and wrapped up in about what others will think of them that they rarely notice other people. 🙂 Great Post!

    • Anne says:

      “Most people are more worried and wrapped up in about what others will think of them that they rarely notice other people.”

      Ha! So true. 🙂

  6. Karlyne says:

    There is a kind of inverted pride at work when we’re unwilling to ask, isn’t there? We always have a prayer time for those who “need” it during our Sunday church, and I have no hesitation in asking for prayer for others, but myself? It’s never even occurred to me! I mean, duh, I already prayed for healing this morning…. Youch!

  7. Karlyne says:

    I just thought of another reason for “youch”; “The prayers of a righteous man avails much”. How foolish not to take advantage of righteous prayers! Ow, ow, ow…

  8. Karianna says:

    I think the most challenging thing about asking is that you are essentially admitting that you can’t do it all and that you need help. That admission of vulnerability is so hard and I have no idea why! I know that there are times that I have a hard time asking my husband for help because it feels like I am admitting that I can’t do it all. :/

    • Monet says:

      I can relate, Katrina, as I still have trouble asking, albeit in different areas, than most. I was the first female firefighter in Chicago.. Opening the doors to female firefighters everywhere. I was in the Military. I was seen as the epitome of a “Strong” woman. That was to my disadvantage as I felt I had to keep that expectation up. Everyone viewed me as strong so for me to ask for help would shatter that illusion.. And that is all it was.. an illusion. I did what I did because it is what I wanted and I was willing to fight. Problem with that is that people begin to see you as just as strong and determined in other areas needing no help!. We all have our own reasons for not wanting to ask for help. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection, or the fear that we will be seen in a different light, as was the case for me. But you will never know until you ask.. Most are more than willing to help and most are just as afraid as you. I know.. but the more you ask the easier it becomes. Just make sure you ask the right people. I’ve had it where I have asked people whom swore they wanted nothing in return then use it against me. That is my personal dilemma. But I so relate with you <3

  9. Breanne says:

    This was a timely read for me as I embark on a solo parenting week. Typically when my husband’s gone, I just put my head down and get through it. Knowing I should and could ask for help but I don’t.
    Thanks for your gentle but firm words on why I should.

  10. Tim says:

    I’m extremely introverted, but I le4arned long ago that asking for help is key. So I do it all the time. Or at least I do it a lot for someone who’s really introverted.

  11. Monet says:

    Please, and Anne, help me out here.. Being an Introvert has nothing to do with being shy! It is all about how you gain or drain your energy! Introverts gain it by being alone.. thus re-charging their batteries so to speak.. Most introvert are highly Social people! Please, stop making the comparison of Introverts always being shy.. That has nothing to do with being an Introvert! Shyness is a different trait altogether. I guess what I’m saying, and what I’ve reconized in others responses whom realize it.. is that we are not a shy, anti-social people! We just get out energies drained by too much social activity. Whereas Extrorverts feed on social Activity and gain energy by it, They can’t imagine not being part of something for fear of missing out. If they are isolated to long. like we introverts like to be, they will go nuts! Neither is right or wrong. Most people are Extroverts. Most Introverts are not shy and can be the most amazingly social person at a gathering. But, we can only handle it in small doses before we become overwhelmed. Shyness is a whole different animal and has nothing to do, in the scheme of things, with being an introvert. Not trying to be disrespectful, but trying to spread the truth.

    • Anne says:

      I’m confused. Of course shyness and introversion are different! Although of course some introverts are shy (but some extroverts are, too.) Re-reading above to see if I said anything that indicated otherwise….

      • Monet says:

        It’s not you, Anne, it’s some of the responses where I get the feeling of shyness equates being an Introvert. I well realize you have your loyal readers and I’m new. I just want to clear up misconceptions I’ve noticed in the replies. Being afraid to ask for helps crosses both boundaries.

  12. This is one of those thoughtful posts that pulled me into the present moment. I don’t think I ever gave thought to the vulnerability of asking for help, but I realized in reading this that it really is, and that maybe I don’t do it enough. Or maybe that’s why some of my asks are dressed up like demands, because I’m trying to protect myself. Thank you for this post. I’ll be thinking about this.

  13. Yes to all of this. Last week I asked for a raise and a promotion but more importantly help to determine a path and a long term role at my current company. I was told no to all of it. Thanks for giving me the courage to keep asking.

    • Anne says:

      So glad you had the gumption to ask, so sorry you got the “no.” But YES to the courage to keep asking. Wishing all the good things for you.

  14. Karlyne says:

    Yes, Anne, thanks for this post! I keep thinking about when and where we do ask – and what our bugaboos are so that we don’t.

  15. Ginger says:

    Oh my goodness, just this post makes me uncomfortable, I’m so wary of that word “ask.”

    There must be something to that, that we cannot receive that grace until we do humble ourselves to, gulp, ask.

  16. Liz says:

    I feel like I have friends I can talk to about problems, but I resist just spilling it all and blubbering all over, because I don’t want to feel juvenile. I remember great youth conferences in high school where the high point was when everybody felt safe and told their tearful stories and got it all out. Now I feel like I need to couch everything in relativity and thoughtful deliberation, recognizing that ‘this too shall pass’ and these are (hashtag) first world problems. The result is that I find myself sometimes weeping over the dishes or in the bath. I feel like I can’t ask my friends to have to think of what to say as I do the ugly cry just because being an adult is tough. If I did ask my friends to let me have a complete breakdown to them, we might all find it healing and cathartic, but what do I say? Come over to my house for a weeping tea party?

    I also find asking for prayer really tough. It’s easy to ask for help for concrete stuff. ‘Can you please pray for an improvement in our housing situation?’ is an easier question than asking for help with all the emotional and marital issues resulting from the housing situation. Asking for the laying-on of hands would have to be the most awkward thing in the world, even though I crave it sometimes. Good topic, again, Anne!

  17. Tina B says:

    As I child, I learned to NOT ask for help and to be self-sufficient. Thus, as an adult, I still struggle with this. When I do manage to ask, I find friends who are always more than willing to help.

    Last year I read about a challenge to get 100 “No’s.” The premise was that if I got that many no’s from asking for something, anything, the author was certain that I, the reader, would have received far more “yes’es” and blessings in the process than could be imagined. I’m working on this one. It’s still difficult!

    • Anne says:

      Yes–I love the 100 no concept! There’s a similar kind of thing called “rejection therapy” but I haven’t spent much time investigating it yet. (Heard of it?)

          • Tina B says:

            My interpretation was when I needed or wanted something, I should ask for it. If I was told no, that was 1 for my 100 list. The author was betting, however, that I would get a Yes, much more often than not. Thus, I would get at least what I asked for, if not better, and I would be rewarded for asking… doing the thing that I dreaded.

            I’m sure over the course of the year there are 100 things that I could or should ask for, but don’t. Probably a lot more. I’m trying to ask more now.

          • Karlyne says:

            That makes more sense, Tina! And I think that it’s true, too. I don’t just automatically ask for help (I tend to go through the “do I really need it?” phase first), but when I do ask, I’m just about always answered with a “yes”. And that’s nice!

  18. With you. It would have taken every ounce of gumption I had to go up and I would have been trembling the whole time. But after? After I would be grateful and at peace. Weird huh?

  19. Karlyne says:

    It seems that a lot of you see this as a learned trait, something that you were taught in childhood? Interesting!

  20. monet says:

    If you have good, honest loyal friends they will be more then happy to help.. Ii found out the hard way when I needed help and had no choice whom my real friends were. That is where is is very sad.. But better to find out the truth sooner then later. Maybe were are afraid of finding out who will really be there and who won’t?

Comments are closed.