Courage to Ask

Courage? I don’t have courage. Or do I?

I don’t need courage. I have everything I need. I am completely sufficient all by myself.

What does courage mean, anyway? Not being scared? I am never scared. No never. Of course not.

But I am not sufficient. I don’t have everything I need. And I get scared. Or, rather, I need to gird up, gather my wits about me, and press forward.

This sufficiency thing. Yeah. I try to live in it. “I am sufficient and I don’t need help from anyone.” It’s not true. I do need help. But I don’t have a whole lot of practice at asking well.

When I was a child, I always got in trouble. My sister and I are sisters. So of course, we fought. But she knew exactly how to get under my skin, and get me to do something that would get me in trouble. And so, momma had to punish me, and knew my sister had done something, but it was me that had taken the concrete action. She would always tell me, “come and get help, and I’ll help you.” But I always forgot. So we tried it another way. I wrote a sign that said “GET HELP,” and put it on my ceiling, directly over my bed. I would look at it as I lay there, and even sometimes I would come get help when I needed it.

It is a hard lesson still. I need help, but I don’t know how to get it. I don’t know who or how to ask all the time. And because I don’t know these things, I don’t ask. Because I am scared to ask. I want you to think that I have it all together. Don’t you believe that I have everything going for me, and that I have not a care in the world?

Yeah, neither do I.

I need help to live right. I need help to survive. I can’t live on my own, I don’t have all the answers, and I really don’t know how to do everything.

Some days I wonder if I know how to do anything right.

And then, when I do realize that I need help, and I’ve taken the courage to bare my heart open and ask…

You should know, it is hard to understand someone that is not like you. It is difficult to realize it when it seems they have it together, but underneath they are crumbling from the foundations to the eaves.

It is still a dangerous assumption to make. We are all only human beings, and though we are made in the image of God, we can only handle what we know how to handle.

If I alone am not sufficient, why would another individual be sufficient? Combined, with all our faults and fractures and failures, we do not have it all. No one does.

No one here.

Who is sufficient? Not you, not me, not our most amazing professor, not our parents, not our friends.

Who do we ask? Who can we ask? Who has the answers?

You know the answer, don’t you? I pray that you learn it with me, as I continue to learn it more and more each day.

Who is sufficient? Who provides? Who sustains? Who gathers each of us in and holds us when we have lost our ability to stand on our own courage? Who could do it? Who gives me the help I need and crave, when no one can give it to me?

It is the one who created you. The one who created me. The one who created the stars, the moon, the mountains, the seasons, the daylight, and the darkness.

It is the one who draws us through our darkness and holds us fast while we sit in even the darkness of our own making.

The one who speaks the Word of light and life and love. To all of us.

So we can have courage to ask.

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