As I reflect back on the past year, I recognize that this was an important theme, however, it also is an overall life theme and area of growth for me (hello, enneagram 2 here). I am a middle child with peacemaker, helper, people-pleaser tendencies who doesn’t want to cause any kind of waves or burden people in any way. I often ask myself questions like, “what do I even bring to this relationship?” because it can be hard to believe that others want to know me or be around me unless I am offering them something worthwhile.
I felt that fairly deeply this past year in some of my relationships; my relational bank was low and I did not feel like I had a lot to offer people. Which then made me question if anyone even would want to be around me at all, and so I chose to reject myself for them and withdraw, and then when people didn’t pursue me I took it as confirmation of my fear. MESSY.AND.DUMB. It took me to a place of loneliness and bitterness, which, if you have never visited that particular island, I would not recommend it.
Fortunately I have some phenomenal people in my life who do not let me wallow in that place and prove my fears wrong in such a clear way that I have no other choice but to believe them and get off that island.
So I learned the absolute necessity of this concept: ask for what you need. Two specific lessons came from this:
One, when we do not ask for what we need we actually rob others of a chance to love us well. I know when others allow me into their hard places or spaces of need it is an honor and a gift. Why is it, then, so hard to believe that is true for others towards me? If we don’t let people care for us, then it feels like nobody is caring for us. And then we have confirmed our own fear that, in fact, nobody cares about us. Let people love you (this is a phrase I gently yell at myself quite often). The most tangible examples of this for me this year? Finally crying on the phone with someone instead of by myself. Asking people to drive to my home to hang out when I needed to be close by. Trusting that if someone offered to do something for me, they actually wanted to and that it is a gift to let them.
Another sort of half-lesson: if you don’t ask people for what you need, then you don’t get to be bitter when they don’t do it. I’m still working on this one. It is so fun to be bitter and expect everyone to read your mind. Much harder to actually tell people.
Second, we know and serve a God of unlimited resources. Are we asking Him for what we need? Are we giving Him the opportunity to love us in that way? Sometimes I think God is just sitting there with exactly what we need just waiting for us to ask for it. He is a God of abundance, eager to overwhelm us with everything we need if only we would ask! Luckily for us, He often gives us what we need even when we don’t ask. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to him.”
I have seen very clearly in the past year the ways that the Lord is eager to answer our prayers. And have experienced the struggle of trying to do everything on my own instead of turning to Him for help. Prayer should be our number one resource, our first weapon in battle, instead we make it our last resort.
Even in the Lord’s prayer, where Jesus is teaching us how to pray, we see that we should ask the Lord for what we need. “Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:11). Over and over again scripture teaches us of the abundance that the Lord has and how He longs to provide for us. If only we would ask.
The truth of it is that we all are really needy. We talk about needy people like it is a unique and terrible quality. But what if we all just admitted the truth, and granted other people the gift of meeting a need in our lives? If we ask the people in our lives and the God who created us to help us with what we need, it will be okay. You aren’t a burden. Let people love you. Ask for what you need.