We have developed unhealthy independence by being bullied into not asking for help. In life, it links to pride, fear, arrogance, and shame. It is a learned and reinforced behaviour that can become a stronghold if not attended. This behaviour is accepted because it is a cultural response popularised over time.
Conversations around me opened a chasm of clarity for me. I have been severely independent since my childhood right into adulthood. I had been unable to ask for help for so long despite knowing I needed help to break out of where I was. It took a major crisis in my life to bring my unhealthy independence to the surface and forced me to deal.
Things changed through a conversation when one of my leaders shared how they learned to ask. Asking makes us better, not less than the next person. When we ask for help, the response is never guaranteed and sometimes discouraging beyond belief. Anyone could say yes or no, ignore the ask or castigate the request. We do not have control over anyone’s response. The bottom line, I learnt that asking is an avenue to grow.
I had to ask for help shortly after that conversation; I couldn’t help the trepidation I felt because I was afraid of rejection. Since I couldn’t deny the need, I gathered my wits and asked. This time my internal response was different because I understood a few things:
- No one is obligated to listen to me.
- It isn’t mandatory for anyone to give.
- I am not less of a person if I need help.
- The instruction to ask does not mean that the person asked will give.
Learning to ask for help changed me significantly. Everyone read the message, thought about it, tried to help, and communicated back to me.
- It broke the SHAME associated with it.
- It turned my eyes to good so clearly that I didn’t get disappointed.
- It allowed God to prompt others to hear, grow and help.
- It taught me to TRUST God and his power because He is ALL powerful, wise, gracious, good, loving, and present.
A good response must be to overcome the shame, unlearn some things and learn new things. I must grow into several things:
Forgiveness: This is the conscious and deliberate choice to let go of hurt, resentment, or vengeance toward those who have harmed you. It is extended to people whether they repent or not or whether they deserve forgiveness or not. Forgiveness is a divine instruction that connects me to personal freedom and will enable us to counter unhealthy independence.
Compassion: when you have known lack, you are gentler with people and more understanding. Paul made this clear in Philippians 4 when he talked about having much and nothing in turn. It reminded him that his strength is in Christ; that is enough. It made his heart softer and warmer for people leading to a more fulfilled life.
Respond: when you have known lack, it is easy to see and resonate with the hurt of others and meet their needs. It is easier to answer the call for help and not be frustrated when people do not respond to you.
Learning to ask makes your life simpler and richer every day. Do not avoid it; embrace it daily.