I never used to ask for help. It meant I would owe somebody something. It meant I’d need to return the favor. It meant they would think less of me if I didn’t return the favor. It meant they wouldn’t do the thing that needed to be done exactly the way I would do it.
I probably worried about those things a little bit too much.
When I told one of my closest friends about my divorce, she had a difficult time believing me. She felt mad and hurt because I’d never given her any indication that anything was wrong.
“We had fights about you!” she said.
When I needed her help, I was too afraid to ask for it. If I complained too much, I thought, she might talk to me less. In reality, she wanted me to let her into my real life, and not the one that looked flawless from the outside.
I pledged to do better. I asked for help with cleaning and moving to my new home when I became a single parent. I haven’t been able to return the favor yet for most of the people who helped me, but I have for some. Amidst the boxes in those early days after my move, I did send heartfelt, handwritten thank-you notes to those who helped me.
I’ve gotten better at asking for help. Usually, I ask for big things, like prayers and positive thoughts. I don’t always provide every last detail of what’s going on, but I ask for help nonetheless.
My requests encouraged others to ask me for help.
A few days ago, for example, an out-of-town friend texted me. She didn’t say hello or ask how I was doing, and it didn’t matter. She said she didn’t get the last few jobs she interviewed for, and asked for prayers.
I told her The Job is coming, and that I’ll keep her in my prayers.
Asking for help means giving up control and admitting you can’t do everything yourself. It’s risky, yes. It requires courage. It allows you to weed through friends and let the real ones love you for who you are, where you are in your journey.