We’ve talked a lot this month about asking for what we need, which is all well and good to talk about in theory, but what about really putting this into practice? That’s why we're ending this month with a list of my best tips about discerning well whether or not to ask for help and who to trust with our vulnerability.
Here they are:
TIP 1: You can always ask God for help with anything and everything, no holds barred.
Asking God for things needs no explanation or addendum. You are free to do it all the time for all the things. God doesn’t always answer immediately, or in the way that we might expect or prefer, but he always hears and he does always answer, even if the answer is to wait for his timing. But if you have an issue, yo, he’ll solve it.
TIP 2: When discerning what people to ask for help in your life, look at your history with that person. Is it appropriate to this relationship to ask for the need you’re considering approaching them about?
If you are thinking of your spouse, asking for what you need should be appropriate in almost all situations, barring strange or irregular circumstances, such as grief, illness, or other life altering situations. For instance, when I was fresh out of surgery with our little boy this summer, there were things that my husband asked his friends and mother to help with that he normally would’ve asked me, but that was appropriate based on the reality of the situation at the time.
Other friendships require more careful discernment, and sometimes even a frank conversation about whether or not this is a reasonable expectation for both of your investment in the relationship. Before I put a dear family friend down as an emergency contact on my kids school forms, for instance, I text and asked if that would be OK - Were they comfortable with that level of responsibility should my husband and I be unavailable for some reason? Being frank brings clarity to the situation which makes it a kinder interaction for everyone.
TIP 3: Pray for clarity about who to reach out to you about a specific need if you’re not sure who to go to.
There have been times in my life where I knew what I needed but I didn’t know who to go to about it. Often I would take this to prayer and then either during prayer or sometime there after have a person inexplicably spring to mind who was the perfect person to help with that scenario. God created us for relationship and connection with each other, and if we are not able to fully see God's design for a certain connection he is happy to speak into that.
TIP 4: Don’t take “no“ as invalidation of your right to ask.
Sometimes we ask people for things and they say no, or we ask God for things and it seems like He has also said no.
It can be tempting to take this as evidence that we were wrong to ask in the first place, because this is exactly what the devil wants us to do with that. But in reality the no we received is just as much a part of our journey of humility as the times we're told yes.
This is where the rubber meets the road: have we really renewed our mind about our right to ask for help? If we haven’t, these situations will often bring it to the forefront and so instead of crumbling and going back to the old lie that keeps us from asking for help, we have the opportunity to continue to proclaim the truth even when it feels unsupported, which in turn helps us to grow even more in humility and fortitude. We can become less and less attached to our circumstances, and more and more invested in the truth God shares with us.
We can have all the tips in the world, but it’s still up to us as individuals to do the asking. Why not grab a reminder that not only can you do this, but that you need to?