28 February, 2008

Ask, And It Shall Be Given You

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."- Matthew 7:7

"Ask", it's a small word, but then again, it's HUGE to me. I have trouble asking for help, I always have. I like to do things myself, unassisted. I always felt that asking was a sign of weakness; or, perhaps, misappropriation of my own time. It wasn't until several years ago, during a Bible study, that I recognized the very act of NOT asking for help could be a sign of selfishness; of denying someone the opportunity to give back. This was the exact opposite reasoning I had ever hoped to convey to friends, family and acquaintances. I knew I had to let go of at least some of that drive to do everything myself, it wasn't easy though; it controlled me. Our Youth and Family Ministries Director at church had the fantastic idea, late last year, to create "quiet" activity bags for our youngest worshipers. They would be available to borrow from the narthex at the beginning of the service and returned to a waiting hook at the conclusion. She planned to fill them with picture books, coloring sheets, puzzles and crayons. She asked me if I would stitch the bags. "Of course", I answered. She then said she'd like to "letter" them, with puffy paint! I stopped her right there, we could do so much more than that. I went to my machine embroidery software and came up with a few font options for her approval. She LOVED that! But then, when she realized what might be available, she asked: "can you also stitch out our church logo on the bags"? Again, I answered, "yes". (... maybe a bit less enthusiastically this time, I knew that this would require digitizing the design and a huge allotment of time on my part...) Now, I procrastinated. The request sat on the back burner of my mind for a month, growing larger and more threatening every day. "Why did I say yes? Why do I over-commit, and then, torture myself?" I became preoccupied with guilt.

One afternoon I was leaving a meeting and I mentioned this "activity bag agreement" to a fellow committee member. He suggested that I call his Dad! He explained that his Dad, a retired engineer, had a new-found hobby: design work of the digitizing variety. It was now or never, I knew that I was being tested. I called Bob. "Yes", he happily replied, "I can do that for you"! He worked on it relentlessly, stitching out sample after sample, until he had it just right. One day he called me: "bring your memory stick over", he requested, "I'll upload it for you". My gratitude for his labor was only outweighed, if it's possible, by his delight in being asked to help. His son and wife have thanked me, repeatedly, for giving him this opportunity to be creative, productive, and needed. "You're welcome", I offered; and, you know what? I've never meant anything more; and, oh... it felt so good to say that!
Life is Good!


16 comments:

Quiltdivajulie said...

I am not good at asking for help either. I get frustrated with the situation and with myself when all I need to do is "let go" and give someone else the opportunity to assist.

Wonderful post ~ thank you for sharing!

Salem Stitcher said...

How interesting that the one person you mention the project to in passing had someone who would feel blessed to help out. Your burden lifted is someone else's joy.

God at work is an amazing thing.

Quilt Memories said...

I have been told all my life "all you have to do is ask', and that is such a true statement, people are so willing , if only those of, the do it yourselfers,would let them. That is truly hard for me also. God Bless the helpers of this world!

Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. We all want to feel needed.

Laurie Ann said...

God is so good!! He put you in the right place at the right time and look how many people were blessed by it! Too cool!!

I never thought about asking for help being a blessing to someone else. What a great way to look at it. And so true!!

quiltteacher said...

The bags are wonderful! Bob does such a good job ditizing. He shared just the Lutheran Rose symbol with me. What a surprize it will be for you know who! Asking is hard to do. All anyone can do is say "No". Most people will not. Bless Bob and his wonderful talents.

Shelina said...

Asking for help - or even advice has been hard for me as well. I've gotten over the advice thing okay - I figure I can learn from other people's mistakes, and they can tell me about pitfalls I hadn't thought of, but asking for help is harder. I understand the logic of letting other people help, but it is hard to translate in life. Great post.

mamaspark said...

I know how you feel. Liz (the whiz) has parents that she finds "projects" for. I had been giving then projects too. Then came the quilts for the Methodist Boys Home. They totally embraced the work and have not looked back! It is the best thing for them and for me. God had His hand in every aspect of life...doesn't he?

Pam said...

Isn't it amazing what can happen when we "share" the tasks/responsibilities? This could have been just what this man needed to boost him up and let him know he still has great value!

Pam@
www.pamgwillim.com

Moorea said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. You are so right, we do have to ask for help. Sometimes others need to see we are not so capable, and helping someone who really appreciates it is the best feeling.

meggie said...

What a wonderful post! If only more people realised this valuable lesson.

Nancy said...

I needed to read this post today! Thank you.

n, np

Karen Dianne Lee said...

What a neat story you share here!

julieQ said...

You are so right! By wanting to do it all ourselves, we deny others the chance to help and the pleasure of service. I am the worst at this! What a great idea for your little ones in church!

Tanya said...

I just read a similar message the other day in a book by Don Piper.

"You're cheating them out of the opportunity to express their love for you."

I have to remember that lesson too.

Marcie said...

It just amazes me what people can create on their own these days, with the right equipment of course. The logo turned out wonderful and the bags are darling! What a nice accomplishment for all involved!