So many of us don’t ask for what we need.
Perhaps because when we risk making a request, we’re met by a world that asks, “Do you really need that?” or “Is that a want or a need?” Because in so many places – at least in the circles where I listen in – we have lost our way. We’ve confused the two. Case in point: at the APple (my adapted spelling) store where I was yesterday I overheard the saleswoman encouraging her customer to use Apple Pay because it would save her from the “hardship of having to get out her credit card and actually swipe it.” Yes, lost we are, but we are also so confused we’re having trouble finding our way back.
When we are actually in need, we should be able to ask. But we don’t. Why?
The world supplies the guilt. Do you really need this? we are asked by those who don’t have this need, don’t know this need, or haven’t any (identified) need.
We supply the shame. Should I really be asking? when others have less. Perhaps I am to blame because I didn’t do this. or I did that. Have I really worked hard enough to deserve to ask for help?
We really need to be honest with that bad boy, Shame. We need to face him down, and address him by name. Listen up, Shame. Here’s what I’ve tried. Here’s where I’ve failed. Here’s where I haven’t attended to something I should have, but I’m on it now.
Now that I have exhausted my resources and all my efforts (and probably myself), if I am still in need I can earnestly look shame in the face and say, Sit down and shut up. I need to get some help here.
Once I have the gumption to talk to Shame that way, I have the courage and confidence to pose my question to those who might be able to help me. If I am secure in my asking, I can handle the no’s — The “No, not now,” or even the “No, not interested.” I can even handle the person who tells me, “You shouldn’t be asking,” or perhaps, “You people are all alike, you take advantage of …” because, to my very core, I know it isn’t so.
Because those people haven’t had their conversation with Shame, I can feel sad for them. They are not the answer to my need, so I can move on without adopting the guilt aimed my way. It’s not mine. It doesn’t fit.
I can move on and still freely ask for what I need, asking the generous one who gives without reluctance. Freely, but not haphazardly, because generosity isn’t random. It invests. The one who gives to me this way makes a covenant with me. I receive it as the gift it is, applying it liberally as a salve for healing and wholeness and as an opening to opportunity. I accept it with this pledge: in thanks, I promise to use it well and in the spirit it was given.
My job is to keep that promise. I’m made to move on it.