The thing about pain,

Is it won’t last forever,

And it kills you right now,

But with time it gets better,

The thing about scars,

Is they all start to fade,

Until nothing is left,

Of the cuts that were made,

The thing about today,

Is there’s always tomorrow,

And if you can’t find your smile

I have one you can borrow,

The thing about help,

Is beside you it stands,

But it won’t know it’s needed,

Unless you reach out your hand,

The thing about love,

Is you can’t feel it’s touch,

Until you let someone know,

That the world is too much.

Ernest Hemingway

As an older sister to two younger siblings, an aunt to two lovely little tots, a babysitter, and someone very involved in children’s ministry, I have experienced a lot of pouty faces.

The quivering lip. The droopy eyes. The sagging shoulders.

My oh my, I think I’ve seen it all…

But there is one little pouter that I will never ever forget.

She had one sibling and I was watching both of them for the first time. I could tell right away she was a girl who could work with attention. Within the first 5 minutes in their home, I had seen her dance, play the piano, sing, sword fight, and her collection of special trinkets.

She was so much fun and I loved her.

However, she began to love me less when her brother woke up from his nap. Suddenly my attention was split, and she wasn’t so sure how she felt about it.

I would play with her brother, and she’d follow me around, not saying anything, but sighing very loudly to herself and grumbling about how she did not want to be playing with him.

Finally, I asked her, “Is something wrong?”

And she said, “oh no, not at all,” and walked away.

I continued playing with her little brother until I realized there was a loud banging coming from upstairs.

I ran upstairs thinking about how only I could possibly ruin a first-time babysitting gig when I found this little girl casually banging on the floor with a giant toy.

“What are you doing?" I asked, "Is everything ok?”

She replied, “Yep, everything is fine.”

I went back down to play with the little one again when just a few minutes later, music began blaring from the radio upstairs. At this point, I had figured out the game, so I went upstairs shut her bedroom door and returned downstairs to resume playing with her little brother.

After this, the music stopped.

I went upstairs and peeked into her soft pink room quietly. I saw a lump under the covers shaking with sobs.

“Is everything ok?” I asked again.

“No! Will you please play with me?”

“All you had to do was ask.”

When we were little I think we all did this. Created some extravagant moment in order to get attention—when really all we needed to do was ask. When you’re young and learning to communicate feelings, this is great, but as we grow older and we continue to do this in different ways, it leads us to even more disappointment, than just lack of a playmate.

All of us come to a place when we just need a friend, a brother, sister, guide, mentor—but we don’t just need it, we want someone to notice that we need it.

So we wait, and we don’t ask for help. Or we create scenes so that maybe someone will notice that we’re not acting like ourselves, and will reach out.

But guys, not asking for help leads us to believe that we are all alone when we’re really not.

It is a common misconception in the church, that help will come to you miraculously. Because of this, we wait. We wait for a stranger to speak to us and know detail by detail what is happening in our lives. We wait for a person we highly admire to reach out and take a mentor-like initiative. We long for our friends or family to notice how we are feeling so that they can start the conversation.

But friends, why don’t we do these things?

We know how we are feeling, so we need to say it.

We know what we want, so we need to ask.

We know what is going on, so we need to explain.

God truly can work miracles, but sometimes He is calling us to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes His desire for us is that we begin to care for ourselves and initiate our own growth.

He wants us to reach out and invite Him in.

But we need to act.

I understand the desire to be noticed.

Understood.

Seen.

And maybe this is just one ask away.

The other day, I heard a wise speaker give this advice when searching for a mentor:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  2. Don’t take it personally if they say no.

Taking the initiative in a relationship requires bravery and vulnerability - one of the two scariest things in life.

But when we reach out we need to be confident in the fact that God has got us in his hands, and he will provide us with the relationships we need - but we have to act.

Just as Hemingway says…

The thing about help,

Is beside you it stands,

But it won’t know it’s needed,

Unless you reach out your hand...