Sometimes certain themes seem to reappear in short periods of time, making me think that maybe I’m supposed to perk up and pay attention. The theme of asking for help has popped up three times in the last 24 hours.
The first time was in the season finale of Biggest Loser last night. (Yes, I watch Biggest Loser. Faithfully. It’s one of only 2 TV shows I make it a point to watch. Maybe I need to explore my attraction to Biggest Loser, but I’ll save it for another post.) At last night’s finale, finalist Hannah was reflecting on the most important thing she had learned on her Biggest Loser journey. She said the most important thing she had learned was to ask for help. To her, in the past asking for help meant an admission of failure, of neediness – a reminder of everything she lacked. So she didn’t ask for help when she needed it and her life spun out of control. Through the Biggest Loser, she learned to ask for help. She said that realizing what you can’t do on your own strength and asking for assistance isn’t a sign of weakness, but of strength. Hmmm.
The second time the topic came up was at our prayer luncheon at church today. We were talking about caring for each other, and then caring for the “others” who come our way. We talked about ministry fatigue in terms of helping those who come to us for assistance, usually asking for money. While we came out in a healthy place (I think) in our discussion, I did pick up some negative vibes at first about those who ask for help.
Then tonight as I checked my twitter feed, I came across this quote attributed to Oprah’s finale this afternoon (which I did not get to watch): “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
I hate to ask for help. HATE it. I’m still where Hannah said she was before her journey. To me, asking for help feels like failure. I don’t like feeling like a failure. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I don’t like saying “I can’t . . .” Those feelings are re-enforced by those negative vibes I picked up in our conversation at church. Sometimes people judge you when you ask for help. Then here comes Oprah – you get in life what you have the courage to ask for. The courage to ask for? Yes, that’s a new concept for me.
I’m thinking about that tonight. What areas in my life do I really need help and where do I just need to suck it up and get to work? What things am I afraid to admit I need help with, and why am I afraid? What would my life look like if I did find the courage to ask for help, if what Hannah said is true for me too? I don’t know the answer to these questions yet, but I’m thinking, considering, wondering. . .
What about you? Which attitude to asking for help reflects where you are?