Give, Give, Ask
I’ve recently been a part of a program where one of the exercises we engage in is called “Give, Give, Ask.” It seems like a simple enough concept, you give help or assistance to others, and then you too can get help from the community. What a brilliant idea! But, what if you have a problem with one of the components? What if you have nothing to give? What if you don’t want to ask?
The reality is that everyone has something to give. The story of the widow’s mite assures us of this. Whether it is insight, knowledge, a shoulder to cry or lean on, a prayer, or some other thing – you always have something to give. Unfortunately, the opposite problem seems to be the more significant issue, for me at least. I have never had a problem helping people – I enjoy it. The bigger problem is asking for help when I need it.
Chatting with my daughter the other afternoon, she asked me why her friend hadn’t asked her for help about something. I’m always there for my friends. I always tell them that they can ask me for anything, and I’ll try to help them out any way I can. I responded, “but you don’t ask for help from them.” She explained that she didn’t like to ask for help – it made her uncomfortable. “I see,” I said, “Doesn’t that change the power dynamic then? I mean, if you’re always giving help and never asking for help, won’t they end up feeling like they are the ones with all the problems and you have all your stuff together? That might make them a bit reluctant to ask for help.”
She cocked her head, confusion giving way to comprehension. I continued, “When you ask for help from your friends, they feel like they too have something to offer. When you refuse to ask them for help, it can make them feel like they can’t ask you for help either. You leaning on them gives them permission to lean on you. No one wants to ask the perfect person for help. It makes you feel bad about yourself.”
Vanity, Fear, or Stubbornness?
Refusing to ask for help when you need it falls into three main categories. Either you believe that you are above asking for help for some reason, you are afraid that the person you ask can’t or won’t help you, or you will be judged in some way, or you are too stubborn to ask because you are so used to struggling through things on your own. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – it makes you stronger. It builds your team. It helps you to thrive in your endeavors. What if Nehemiah hadn’t been brave enough to ask the king to rebuild Jerusalem?
You don’t have to do it alone! Thrive together with a friend, with family, or in a community. We make ourselves and each other stronger when we work together.
Come thrive with me!