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Do you feel comfortable asking for help when you need it?

I had an encounter with a woman once that I just couldn’t get off of my mind. I was at the gas station when she walked by me, pushing a shopping cart. The woman had a small boy with her, and her cart was filled with various items that were clearly their personal things.

As I waited for my gas to finish pumping, I watched her walk by thinking that maybe I should say something to her. Because I am human, though, and I don’t always do the right thing, I didn’t call out to her. Instead, I thought about the money that I had in my purse, a large amount because I was on my way to make a big purchase, and justified that I couldn’t offer her anything because I didn’t have any small bills.

But God…

When the gas stopped and I got back in the car, I started to drive off, but then stopped and called to the woman. I greeted her and then asked if everything was okay. She first responded, “Yes! Oh, yes! Everything is fine.” Then she sighed and said, “No. Actually, things are not okay. We are living in a hotel, and I just made this sign to stand on the side of the freeway to get enough money to pay for our room for tonight.”

I reached in my purse, grabbed some bills, and told her that I hoped it would help. She thanked me, told me her name, and introduced me to her 4 year old son. She let me know that she was going through a bit of a rough patch, and I let her know that I understood.

While I have never had to live in a hotel, there have been times when money was so tight that I had to ask for help with getting groceries. If not for the grace of God, and the generosity of others, things would have been a lot more challenging for me.

As we started to say goodbye to each other, she asked me to pray for her, to pray for them. I promised her that I would, and watched them walk away.

That evening, in my Bible study class, one of my sisters was talking about being broken, and learning to ask for support when she needs it. The meeting that I’d had with the woman at the gas station came to mind, and God placed it on my heart to share with the group. There was a big lesson for me in our encounter, and it only became clear as I was retelling the tale.

Although it may seem obvious, it may not always be clear  to others when we are in need. We have to ask for help.

The woman I met had a shopping cart full of her possessions, and yet I still asked her if everything was okay. Maybe I was hoping that she’d say yes, everything was fine, and keep walking. Perhaps I was subconsciously nervous about offending her. Whatever it was that held me back initially from offering her support, it should have been clear that she needed support.

When I reflect on times that I’ve been in need, I can recall being at practically rock bottom before I reached out for a lifeline. By the time I did finally ask for help, folks were typically surprised that things were as bad as they were because I always acted like life was sunshine and roses.

Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned that it’s my responsibility to ask for help when I need it. I can’t expect for other folks to know that something is wrong, especially when I’m doing everything I can to pretend that everything is okay.

Do you do that, too?

Do you pretend to hold it together even when things are falling apart?

When you need help, do you ask people to pitch in and give you support? Are you honest with others when they ask if you’re okay, or if you need help?

Many women, moms and not, are so used to taking care of others that we don’t even consider that other folks might want to take care of us. I don’t even mean when we get to the rock bottom point. Even simple things like asking someone to watch your kids so you can get some much rest, or getting other parents to volunteer on the committee at school that we’re leading.

We have to get out of that habit. We don’t have to be saints.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”

I know it can feel uncomfortable to ask, or even to respond to someone asking how you’re doing. While I can’t promise that discomfort won’t be there, I can give you exact words on how to actually ask for help.

If someone asks if you’re doing okay

Thank you for asking. I’m not doing great. Here’s what I’m going through. I need help doing xxxx. I appreciate you even considering.

If someone asks if you need something

Yes. Thank you for asking. Specifically, I need XYZ.

We are not in this world alone. People will help if they know that we need it. We just have to let them know that we’re in need.

Sim @ Sim's Life

Monday 8th of November 2021

Yes! I am the one who always offers help, but absolutely detest having to ask for it myself, I always feel like I am putting people out and it makes me feel uncomfortable. However, as a single mum I have to get oevr my feelings and simply ask. Definitely gets easier as you get older! Sim x

emy cooks

Tuesday 30th of April 2013

I do have issue with asking but I do ask God and he sets it in my path. I asked and that is the reason I was able to go to Hispanicize. Thank you and one day I will be able to thank you personally. You are a great woman, God bless!

Amiyrah Martin

Monday 29th of April 2013

I still have such an issue with asking, but once I turned 30, God put in my heart the thought that I will not succeed in the goals I set for my 30s if I don't ask. As soon as I processed that, I started to ask a bit more. And I also encouraged my family members to do the same with me. I have difficulties with it because I always saw asking for help as being some type of hinderance to others. And to tell you the truth, I still do. But I decide to get out of my own way and just ask. If I really need the help, then I need to make it known or else I'll end up in a place that I don't want to be.

Arnebya

Monday 29th of April 2013

I have conditioned myself not to ask. I have conditioned myself to not let it be "clear" that I need help. I have taught myself to only ask for help when there is absolutely no money left and we're down to 1 egg and a half a cup of rice. Yes, I've been there. I won't say how recently, but believe me: it's still fresh. It is a hard thing to unteach oneself, purposefully refusing to ask for help. The anticipation of judgment, of ridicule, of why'd you buy it if you couldn't afford it or you know you probably don't need that fancy of a phone/car/clothes/purse/shoes/cable/pedicure/random thing you do that makes you happy but is totally expendable and unnecessary (to others). I'm glad you asked. I give to others when I can, but yes, sometimes I make the mistake of assessing a person's "clear" need and I am not proud of it. I've had to explain to my oldest daughter, after seeing a man holding a sign reading homeless, please help. She said he wasn't homeless because his shoes weren't dirty and neither was he. I was floored. I hadn't explained to her (had it come up before?) that just because one is homeless doesn't mean one has to be filthy. There are shelters that help and kind people and you never know whether someone took the shoes off his feet and gave them away to him. Maybe he's homeless but has a job. YOU DON'T KNOW SOMEONE'S STORY UNTIL YOU ASK.

Patricia Patton

Monday 29th of April 2013

To answer your question, no I do not always ask for help. I have had to unlearn the "take care of yourself" message I took into the world when I left home. And learning to ask for help has not been easy. I have found that many people will help in ways that they can. But pride, false pride can get in one's way. I am going to do a better job in this area rather than wait for someone to choose me and ask what is it I need.