heart on wood

Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Philippians 4:6-7

Are you comfortable asking for what you need?  Though it may sound like a simple task, once you probe deeper it may not be as easy as it seems.

This June, my husband was supposed to lead a mission trip to Haiti.  As the director of a mission organization, he often leads these kinds of trips, so they are a normal part of our lives.  However, this June turned out to be far from a normal one for me.  I entered into a season in my life that demanded all my energy and time into healing from a chronic health issue.  On top of that, I had the stresses of running a household, raising three kids, and working part time.  I was physically and mentally drained.

During this time, a very insightful woman had told me, ” You have trouble asking for what you need.”

I replied quite confidently, “I can ask for what I need.”

She countered, ” So your husband is leaving on a mission trip for two weeks and you are feeling stressed and unwell, do you want him to go?”

I responded, “I can’t ask him to stay, he has to go, he’s the team leader, this trip has been planned for months, “

My friend sighed, “Julie, you have trouble asking for what you need.”

What, in fact, did I need?  As I let this question sink in, my heart slowly began to speak.  It whispered to me about my desire for gentle reassurance; a voice telling me that everything will be okay.  My need for constant affirmation, that who I am and what I do makes a difference.  Most of all, it spoke of my need to be loved and to feel secure in that love.  I felt weak and shameful admitting that I desperately longed for these basic things, but I could not deny it.  God was revealing myself to me.  I began praying, knowing that God ultimately fills the deepest needs of my soul.  I have his assurance that I am more valuable than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field (Phil 6: 25-34).  I have his affirmation that I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph 2:10).  I know of his love because I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).

Still, God was prompting more from me.  He wanted me to ask others for what I need.  My gut reaction was “No, that’s simply too hard.”  I was scared of looking weak and needy.  I was scared of being rejected.  But God was asking me to trust in his wisdom and plan for my life.

It took me a few days to muster up the courage to ask five close friends to consistently pray and send reassuring notes through email.  My requests were received with overwhelming empathy and support; I have gracious friends.  With even more courage, I asked my wonderful husband not to go on his mission trip.  He made many phone calls and emails, but in the end he stayed home with me.  What I didn’t realize was that my husband’s willingness to stay fulfilled my greatest need:  to be loved.  I believe that all this was part of God’s plan all along; for me to experience and feel the truth of his words.

Are you comfortable asking for what you need?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your comforting presence, and your enduring love for me.  As I grow in my relationship with you, may my trust in your wisdom and your word also deepen.  Give me the courage to do what you ask of me, even when it seems so difficult.  Thank you for giving me what I need, thank you for all that you have done. 

Contributed by Julie Young