Ever since I was a kid in school, I’ve struggled to ask for help. I’d struggle with a subject but wouldn’t ever ask the teacher or a fellow student for help. Perhaps it was part pride – how dare I not be able to do this all on my own! – and part not wanting to be a burden – how could I ask so much of someone? – but asking for help, or anything, never came easily.
Fast forward a few years and now, working for FOCUS, we fundraise our salary and ministry expenses. Talk about asking for things! Recently I was complaining to myself that I am tired of always asking people for things, especially money. What I found, however, is that if I don’t ask, one of two things happens:
- I’m not disappointed when people say no and I’ve avoided having potentially awkward or tense conversations with people.
- I’m not blown away by God’s generosity through those around me.
On the one hand, as an introvert, I love avoiding potentially awkward conversations, especially when one of the topics to be discussed is money. I love avoiding even the possibility of being rejected. (And, yes, that has happened plenty of times when we meet with people.) Though we’ve had some tougher conversations with people over the last two years about our funding and the possibility of people supporting us, none of those conversations have been nearly as bad as I feared they could have been.
For example, in my head, this is what is going to happen:
“Would you be interested in joining our support team?”
“WHY ON EARTH WOULD I DO THAT?!?! YOU ARE A DESPICABLE PERSON AND I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU WOULD ASK ME SUCH A RIDICULOUS THING.”
That, thank God, has never happened. What I have found, however, is that if I ask, I’m opening myself up to God’s will in a way that doesn’t happen if I keep my mouth shut. When I ask – for financial support, for friendship, for a night out with the girls, whatever – more often than not, I’m blown away by the response, by the generosity of others and of God.
Though I see this lesson most often in our fundraising efforts, it is true in every other aspect of my life. If I don’t ask, I won’t be disappointed, but I also won’t be blown away by the love, support, and goodness of those around me. It is a lesson I’m still learning, no doubt. More often than not I flash back to that little girl in the classroom, to afraid, to prideful to ask for help. But each time those memories come back to me, I do my best to remember all of the times – and there are so many – that the Lord has blessed me and my family when we’ve taken the step outside of ourselves and just…asked. Because really, that is all we can do.