This is one of those "physician heal-thyself" sort of articles. I need to write it and then read it ... again and again and maybe even again.
I got a call the other day inviting me to lunch with a bunch of ladies from church. Two of them had birthdays, so a spontaneous rendezvous was set up at a local Mexican restaurant. Someone brought a birthday cake and we all enjoyed our time there. At the end of the lunch, the sweet and very patient waiter came with an empty dessert plate. He handed us our bill and said, with his gorgeous accent, "Now, a piece for me?" We were absolutely delighted to oblige. It made us feel good to supply him with a little bit of a treat during his shift. And this was just a simple want. If there were anything he needed, I'm sure we would have tried to help with that as well.
Such a simple lesson he taught me. Just ask. You might make someone's day.
I think many of us have a tendency to not want to put people out, so we don't ask for what we want or need. Even when they ask us outright, "What can I do for you?" we tend to shrug them off with a quick, "Nothing, I'm fine. I'll work it out." Is it pride that fuels this knee-jerk reaction? Or perhaps the fear of putting someone out or being turned down? I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like it's when I'm at my down-and-out-est that I reject the offers most.
Instead, what if we not only accepted generosity, but found it within us to actually ask for what we need and want.
Some personal scenarios:
Missing church because you didn't want anyone to have to come and fetch you
Turning down someone's offer to bring your family dinner
Saying, "No" to people wanting to bring something to a gathering
Not accepting assistance to finish an important project with a deadline
It is in our nature to help others, to reach out to them and offer. When we help, it makes us not only feel happier and more fulfilled, but also gives a sense of hope to those who may be lacking it.
Why then do we deny others those same feelings of joy and ourselves the feeling of hope? And why can't we ask as sweetly for what we want as that awesome waiter? He had no fear. It was not a demand or an expectation. It was a simple, "That looks really delicious and I'd love to have a slice."
Aside from the waiter, some personal examples of people who have made this concept work:
I needed a walker and my daughter found one out at the curb. Just to be certain, she asked the homeowners and they were delighted that someone would be able to use it. It was in great shape and helps me everyday.
When cleaning up from a potluck at church, there was a family whose breadwinner was recently let go from his job. We offered the leftovers to them and they graciously accepted, making us all very happy.
When I was a single mom and had been at my job for some time, I bravely went in and asked for a raise. I took an outline of points to back it up and the president of the company not only gave me that raise, but promoted me to be her assistant.
My daughter needed a laptop for college and put the word out. Low and behold, some friends had one they weren't using. It made their day to support her in a way that was small to them, but so significant to her.
As a seamstress, I needed a serger for some of my projects. I never told anyone but God about it. I came home from running errands one day and there was a used, but very nice one on my doorstep.
These are just a few examples of how easy it should be to ask for what you want or need and how to receive with grace and without hesitation what others offer you. Sometimes God works through others to supply our needs.
I wouldn't go asking my neighbor for his new car! Neither would I have asked for that raise if I didn't have the merit to back it up. Sometimes it just takes a little gumption to make everyone happy.