the naked ask {guest post Aaron Smith}

Aaron is a writer of courage and candor. He blogs at Cultural Savage, and I am grateful to share his words here on physical need and faith in God who provides through flesh-and-blood hands.

Asking is hard.

It is difficult to admit my own need, to admit I can't do it, to admit I need help. Maybe it's American society, maybe it's how I am broken and bent by the fall. Either way, there is something that brings a visceral reaction to having to ask for something I need.

First, there is the pit. It sits square in my belly, a gaping hole leaving me with sick feelings and gasping to catch my breath. Then come the reticulating thoughts, obsessively circling around this thing I have to ask for, this need that I have. These thoughts are always accompanied with agitation, the restlessness, the fidgeting and pacing. It's as if my body has too much energy to be contained, but I keep cranking out more. This is the heart of worry, the fighting with my self to figure out a solution without having to swallow my pride and do the hard work of asking someone else.

I know I have a mood disorder; I know I am mentally ill. I have to believe that my reaction to having to ask for the big help isn't just about my condition. I can't be the only one who dreads asking for help with rent, with moving, with paying bills, buying groceries, caring for my family. It is a hard thing to ask.

It's hard to trust. I have to place my hope in someone else, and they may let me down. They may not be able to help. They may not want to. They may say no. In the face to a big ask, I am left feeling the truth that trusting does not guarantee that something will happen.

So God, how the hell do I trust you when I have to ask?

I already feel like you let me down because I am in the place where I need to ask. I have already been asking you to save, to deliver, to help. Now, I have to open my chest up and ask other human beings for what I can't do on my own. I have to ask other people to take care of me and my family.

How is this faith? It feels like uncertainty and begging.

Is there something to having faith in my begging, of trusting you when I face these fears? When I put down my physiological aversion to need and ask people to help us pay rent, am I really throwing my self on your mercy?

If I stop, slow down, and take a few breaths, I can almost hear that it is.

When I force my self into your holy hands, giving myself over to your provision, it is far from a passive thing. I don't just let go of all worry and doubt, fear and anxiety. Siting with my fear of being let down, doubting that you care, being anxious about tomorrow: these things live close to my heart when I lean over the edge, praying you will catch this falling child.

This is me living in trusting you. Even though I doubt, I still ask. I do the work of asking because I believe that you provide, and often times it is through the hands, feet, and mouths of my fellow human beings. I ask, physically speaking the words because I believe you want to free me from the silence of shame as part of your healing in my life. I type out messages of need and push the send key because I want to believe that people love me, that people care about my family, and that in the love and care we find we may catch a hint of the agape love you have for us.

So, I ask, and I receive with a grateful heart. I still worry, fret, hide, and doubt, but I ask.

I ask and trust that you hear, trust that you care, trust that you will provide. I ask and I trust, even as I doubt and fear. I ask, and with my admission of need, of lack, of fear, and of shame, I put feet to my faith, action to my trust, and deeds to my hope.

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. (Psalm 91.14-16)

Husband, father, believer, writer, nerd, coffee chugger. Just a typical Jesus obsessed, question everything, bipolar, poet-punk. I'm a bad Christian.

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