In Matthew 7:7, Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” Then, in Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about a persistent widow. This widow asked a judge for justice—day after day—to the point of pestering. Finally, she wore him out, and the judge granted the widow’s request. What I find fascinating is that Jesus told this parable is so that His disciples would say motivated, always pray, and not lose heart. It is almost as if Jesus was saying, “It’s OK to ask. And, if you reach the point that you think you are pestering God, then you are doing it right!” [Tweet “God highly encourages us to cry-out to Him both day and night!”]
Why We Don’t Ask
Like many people, I don’t like asking for help.
- I don’t like asking because I don’t want to be a burden to others.
- Also, I don’t like asking because I’m afraid that people will see me as needy or incapable.
- I don’t ask because I’m afraid that asking again will demonstrate a lack of faith. A spiritual person will pray once and then trust God. He or she won’t need to keep asking. This is the bad advice that I sometimes give myself.
- Finally, I don’T ask because I don’t like it when others say, “no.”
In short, I am good at convincing myself not to ask for help. Yet, when we don’t ask, we don’t get. When you and I fail to make our needs known, others cannot support us and cheer us on. Sometimes we fall into the trap of convincing ourselves that if someone really loves us, they will know exactly what we need. Of course, expecting others to read our minds is the perfect setup for disappointment. [Tweet “Although asking can be difficult, it’s also a good and spiritual thing to do.”]
Asking and The Aladdin Factor
This week, the topic of asking is fresh on my mind. I just finished listening to The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. What makes this audio-book unique is that Jack and Mark co-read it together, which sounds very much like an engaging conversation. Although you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I often do. The magic lamp and the name “The Aladdin Factor” were almost enough to cause me to pass over this powerful personal growth tool.
I’m not a fan of self-help books that over promise and under deliver, and any book with a magic-lamp on the cover makes me highly suspicious. Although there were a few times the book did overdo things, the overall message is that asking is hard work. Asking is also a skill that improves with practice. The authors also make it clear that there is no formula for 100% asking success. Instead:
- Successful people ask for advice.
- Bloggers who succeed reach out for new connections.
- Successful writers ask for help and team-up for big projects.
If fact, most everyone who succeeds will ask over and over again. My favorite takeaway from the book is the formula SW x4. It stands for, “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting.” The formula looks like this:
Some Will: When you and I ask, some people will say yes! Asking allows other people to help. Last year, our family faced some overwhelming challenges. Jenny and I asked our friends, family, and fellow bloggers to pray with us through our storm. In the weeks that followed, Jenny and I were amazed at how God answered our prayers and provided for our needs. Jack and Mark are right. When we ask, some people will jump at the opportunity to help.
Some Won’t: Asking and being told “no” is normal. Sometimes the word no means, no for now. Other times it means, I would like to help but am unable. There are also times it means, I am not interested at all. The bottom line is that asking and being told “no,” is normal. So if you’re a writer or blogger, don’t be afraid to experiment with your ask.
So What?: This line reminds me that being told “no,” is not a big deal. I have a friend who often says, “I think you should ask. The very worst that will happen is that you will be told ‘no.'” And if someone says “no,” so what? When we ask, we also allow others to say, “yes!” When we ask, there is the possibility of moving toward our goals! [Tweet “When we ask, being told “no,” is part of the journey to finding people who say “yes!””]
Someone’s Waiting: In The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, John Maxwell states [Tweet “Nothing of significance was ever achieved by an individual acting alone. ~John Maxwell”] Accomplishing big goals requires teamwork. Someone is waiting to team-up with you. Someone has similar goals as you and can’t wait to dive in. That thing that you dread doing is someone else’s passion. Someone is literally sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting for you to ask!
The Art of Asking
The Aladdin Factor reminded me that there is an art to asking. Good asking is much more than spamming the internet with a product or service. [Tweet “Good asking is mutually beneficial.”] Good asking helps others see why they should team-up with you. In marriage, asking serves as a connection point between husband and wife. I like it when Jenny asks for help directly. I love saying “yes!” And it’s nice to know that what I am doing is actually helpful—and not something that I think is helpful but isn’t what she needs at all.
[Tweet “When we ask in the right way, everyone wins!”]
Asking For Bloggers
This week, I was reminded that it is okay to ask.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Ask your fellow bloggers to pray for you when you are hurting.
- Ask for an interview.
- Ask for technical support.
- Ask for advice.
- Ask others to leave a comment, write a review, or purchase your product.
Not everyone will say yes, but some will. Chances are, someone wants to help, and someone wants what you have to offer. They are simply waiting for you to ask.
Do you find it easy or difficult to ask others for help, and like me, are you sometimes guilty of not asking enough? What can your fellow bloggers help you with right now, and how can we best pray for you? Please feel free to leave your “ask” in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!
P.S. For more creative writing ideas, you can dive into individualized coaching with me. I’ll pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite writing strategies. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!