Learning to Ask For Help

You might think that asking for help when you need it is a natural ability that everyone is born with. After all, babies cry — they know how to express their need for help from the moment they’re born!

But I think some of us lose this ability for various reasons.

I have mentioned before that I didn’t have a particularly wonderful childhood. Among other things I was taught never to ask for help. In fact, when I asked for help I was usually punished for it. Although never stated in quite so many words, what I was taught was that there are 2 kinds of people: those who need help and those who give it to others. We were supposed to be in the latter category. It was a sort of snobbery. We were “too good” to ask for help, and I was deemed to be “living wrong” and “disgracing my family” if I ever expressed a need for help, and was often punished for doing so.

I survived anyway (grin). I was stubborn, tough, and what would now be called “resilient.”

But I truly didn’t learn some important social skills — like how to ask for help when you need it. Most people take that skill for granted. I think a lot of people can’t even imagine what it would be like not to know how to ask for help. I think they think everybody knows how to do that. It’s not true.

I’m stumbling awkwardly through the process of learning that skill now, as a physical grown-up. It’s part of what makes me feel like a born-again Little Kid. Born-again me really is learning new Little Kid skills that I didn’t bring with me from the old self that died when I was born again in Christ.

This affects my prayer life as well. It is a learning curve for me to learn to ask Jesus for help. I keep trying “everything but” that before I finally realize that’s what I need to do. Ugh.

My head knows that’s not a good thing. I could quote lots of Bible verses here with which my head completely agrees … about asking for God’s help, about the Holy Spirit being with me all the time to help me become more like Jesus, etc., etc. But — oh, that dreadful disconnect — it is the backstory of my entire spiritual journey that my “head” believes lots of things that haven’t yet worked their way into my heart. It’s a constant struggle to close the gap between what I believe with my head and what I know in my heart.

I need to improve my vapid prayer life, which often vacillates between thanking God for how awesome everything is, and treating God like the “Complaints Department” … where I come to complain about everything that’s hard for me at the moment, but don’t ever think to ASK for HELP.

I can see that same dynamic at work in my worldly life as well … and can see why others perceive me as a negative person. (I only hope that God who can see me without sin, sees me without seeing a negative person…)

So this is my latest insight — I need to ask for God’s help in learning how to ask for help (including His).

That is my prayer focus this week. Along with thanking God for His patience with my learning curve, and His grace which I don’t deserve but am learning to gratefully accept anyway.

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