Bunny Cakes is a children’s book that makes me laugh every time.
Max is a bunny of few words and great mischief. He and his sister Ruby have quite a few books together, but this may be my favorite. Max wants Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters. He’s making an earthworm cake, and Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters are on the ingredient list. He asks and doesn’t get them. He asks again and doesn’t get them. But Max keeps on asking.
I knows some people who don’t have a problem with asking for what they want, but asking is incredibly hard for me. It doesn’t matter if it is red-hot marshmallow squirters or airport rides or help with the dishes. Although I think I can trace some of it back to my birth order as the oldest or my personality, I think it goes beyond those factors.
I think it is because I don’t like being vulnerable. I think it is because I like being in control.
A few years ago, I had some horribly hard things happen to me all at once. My grandpa was given weeks to live with stage 4 cancer. I was in a car accident that totaled my car and should have killed me. I had to fire a student leader for lack of integrity. My heart was hurting, my body was hurting and I felt so very empty and out of control.
This was the first time in my life that asking was not an option. Simple things like a ride to the grocery store or to church had to be asked for. I needed things. I had physical needs that I needed help with. I’d never had someone so close to my heart die before. I had emotional needs that I needed help with. I couldn’t do it without help.
I hate asking. I love being the helper. I love being the one to sit with you in YOUR mess. It feels so different and scary to ask you to sit with me in MINE or to let you know that I need groceries or to ask for a ride or to tell you how scared I am or to cry in front of you.But here’s what I’ve learned about the benefits of asking:
- Asking for things has changed me. I pray differently now. I ask knowing that I may not get what I want, but believing that Jesus wants to know my heart. I have more courage to ask for bigger things from him. Jesus challenged me about whether or not I believe he is for me or against me. If I believe he is for me, I can trust him enough to ask for what I want. He won’t use this information against me. I may not get what I am asking for, but it is helpful to know that if I don’t, it is because I am loved.
- Asking has given me some of my best friends. True friendship is not one sided. I can’t always be caring for them. I have to let them care for me too. I have to be the one to cry and to be a mess sometimes. I know I have some of my dearest friends because I let them see me and care for me in hard times.
- Asking has made me see my selfish heart more clearly. Asking is different than demanding. I have often confused the two. I am not an advocate of demanding, and have seen the damage firsthand this can do in a relationship. Demanding comes with expectations, while asking is free of them. Asking is risky because I don’t attach strings or expectations. I lay my cards on the table and ask. Sometimes I get told no. But more often than not, especially with those who love me, I am surprised by gift of the yes.
- Asking is making me a more grateful person. When I ask without expectation, I get to enjoy the blessings and the gifts that Jesus gives me. And he gives me a lot. I’m not trying to diminish the pain of particular seasons or transitions. That pain is real and awful. But we have a good dad. He takes cares of his kids when they are hurting. It is hard not to be grateful for that love and care.
As much as asking is still hard for me, I’m growing to appreciate what it’s doing to my heart. Asking takes away the pretense that I have it all together and that I don’t need help. Asking gives me the opportunity to see how loved I am. Asking reminds my heart of who I am. And as a bonus, sometimes I even get some red-hot marshmallow squirters out of the deal.