And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. — Matthew 21:22
When my daughter Molly was an independent toddler, before she learned how to properly pronounce her ‘s’, she used to say, “I do it by my pelp!” It became a family joke for years. She would frequently wear her shoes on the wrong feet. She wouldn’t allow me to brush her hair so it was always in knots. But she didn’t care. To her, at that time, being capable was more important than being presentable.
I am as guilty of this as anyone. In fact Molly is just like me. Since starting my own coaching business in 2010 I have taught myself everything from how to build websites, put on conferences, run online courses and write and publish books. If I had the idea, I could execute it. End of story.
Until recently I didn’t see that as a problem. But there are some problems that are too big for us. One such problem came to light in my life on March 18th, 2016 when I walked through the doors of a 12-step program. Their message of hope begins with “WE” and is rooted in “A power greater than ourselves.” What a concept. You’re not alone, you can’t do it alone (if you could have you would have), and accept the fact that no human power can solve your problem.
This opened the door to letting go of self-sufficiency. Which I’ll admit, was a scary and humbling process.
To admit that your own best thinking has gotten you into some of the messes you’ve made, is not easy. Asking for help is not easy. I think most people prefer to figure things out on their own and silently struggle with problems so as to not bother anyone else. We all have enough on our plates right? We assume others don’t have time.
The good news is that God has time. And He wants to help.
When Molly was strong-arming me and putting her own shoes on the wrong feet was it because I was unwilling to help her? Or was she unwilling to ask for help? When she showed up at grandmas house with a messy head of hair, which drove grandma crazy, was it because I was unconcerned with how she looked? No. I allowed her to make simple age-appropriate choices and was unwilling to fight to get my way. I believe God treats us in the same manner.
He wants to help us. He is ready to offer a hand. But He won’t insert Himself where He has not been asked and He will allow us the freedom to look ridiculous and struggle until we learn better.
Such an easy lesson and something easier to forget.
I was recently on the phone with a wise friend relaying a few options I was considering for a career enhancement. Laying out in detail the pros and cons of each as I saw it, he said, “Did you ask God what He wants you to do?” Light bulb moment. I hadn’t. I realized I had again slipped into the pattern of self-sufficiency. I told him, with a laugh, that I wanted to figure it out and then present it to God as a gift.
“Here’s my plan. Do you like it? Are you proud of me that I figured it out on my own and I didn’t even bother you?!”
I guess I still have a ways to go. But for today I will remember that God is as close as a prayer. He wants to offer help. He’s not trying to make life confusing and unclear. If I ask for direction and guidance I believe He will give it. And believe it or not, Molly is a thriving teenager now who wears her shoes on the right feet, is very particular about her hair and often asks me for help.
Good to know we can grow and change if we want to.
I love this simple suggestion I learned from my 12-step program, to pray for the knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out. In difficult times remember you are not alone. Ask God for help and believe you will receive it.
Day 10 Lenten Love Prayer:
Is it really so easy? Forgive me for making life harder than it needs to be through relying on my own strength, smarts and attitude of self-sufficiency. Forgive me for thinking You were too busy to help and that I would be bothering you with my problems. Today I ask that you reveal your will to me and give me the power to carry it out. Help me to remember that you are always with me and want to help me just as a concerned parent wants to help their child. Thank you for being interested in the details of my life. I am so grateful I don’t have to walk this path alone. For you are with me. You uphold me with your right hand and you keep me safe in the shadow of your wings. What do I have to fear with you by my side! I will look for answers today in the people I meet, the places I go, the conversations I have and the books I read. I will be open to seeing You revealed right in front of me. I’m excited to see what this day will bring. Thank you for all you are to me.
Day 10 Scriptures:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
— Matthew 7:7
Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
— John 14:13-14
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
— Philippians 4:6
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
— Isaiah 41:13