Have you ever stood and watched small children at the supermarket checkout eagerly asking mummy if they could have one of the lollipops or chocolate bars brightly displayed along the edge of the counter?
Young ones don't agonise over whether or not they should ask, they don't fear a 'no' response - they see, they want, and they ask. Simple as that. They don't play mental mind games with themselves the way we big people do.
I'm not good at asking anything for myself, in fact it's only been during the course of this past year that I've been brave enough to enlist help from tall strangers in the supermarket aisle to retrieve products I want from the top shelf. And you know, not once has my plea been declined.
It's been an interesting experience to ponder my life thus far and imagine all the wonderful opportunities, conversations, relationships and experiences that I have missed out on because I couldn't 'ask'.
The flip side is that I ask a lot of myself, do a lot myself and find it natural to give a lot of myself, with the result that seasons of burn-out and extreme adrenaline depletion are increasing and I'm taking longer to recover from them.
So why am I doing so much myself and not asking for help?
Pride in being self-sufficient and appearing capable, fear of a negative response, not wanting to be a nuisance? All three I think, and probably more reasons I'm yet to uncover.
Here's an example of my pride:
In a practical sense, if I'm exhausted with too many things to do there's no use complaining and whining, wishing the work go away or I'd have more energy to accomplish it, because the sensible and humble thing is to ask for help from those close to me and accept their help. You see, the answer is right in front of me but my pride holds me back.
But it's not just in day to day relationships and opportunities of life that I've lacked asking. It's in my relationship with God as well.
Remember the Sermon on the Mount?
Jesus taught thousands that day and as we read in Matthew 7:7 one of the teachings He gave was the instruction for people to ASK. When I grasped this verse anew it was comforting (and confronting) because I realised I'm not alone in this problem, and it's not a new 21st century personality flaw either.
Two thousand years ago Jesus needed to remind His people to ask God for all their needs.
Today, in God's living Word, He still reminds us to ask.
What are you not asking for?
What are your needs?
What do you want?
Is it time to come before the throne of grace and lay all your cares at the foot of Jesus and ASK for what you truly need or want?
Maybe you think it's too much, right up there on the top shelf?
Hey, sweet child of God, He can reach it for you. It may not be the brand you thought you wanted, and it may look a little different to what you imagined, but be assured that what He gives to you will be the best He has for you.
And don't forget, just like that small child, it's not just about asking for answers to the heavy things in life. You can ask God for fun things too. He's your gracious Daddy who loves to give good gifts to His children. Maybe you've forgotten that like I did.
Let's put aside our pride and fears and start asking, okay? Our Father is all ears...