I don’t like asking for help. It’s how I’m wired. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t need to talk about my feelings regularly. I make decisions and move on from there. Asking for help is literally the last thing I think to do in a situation. It’s not asking for help that is the hardest part though. For me, it’s the need to accept the help when it is provided. My failure to accept help that is offered is often a pride issue. God is slowly shifting this and helping me be better about asking for and accepting help.
Because asking for help is a challenge for me, I’m more likely to drop obscure hints and hope someone miraculously clues in and helps. It’s not the best solution. And by “not the best” I mean that it rarely works the way I want it to. However, the more God is pointing out this flaw in me the more I’m having eyes to notice others around me constantly throwing out the obscure hints for help. I call it the “silent ask.” We throw out the generic “let’s hang out some time” when we really want to say, “I’m desperate for a friend and some adult conversation!” We post pictures of us with our kiddos at the park, but really we wish we had a friends we could have called to meet us there. We mention in passing that we’re nervous about a doctor’s appointment, but too often fail to ask for prayer - often because we’re not sure that anyone will actually join us in prayer. We respond with “I’m fine; just hanging in there” when really we should be saying “I’m struggling and wish I could open up without feeling judged.” Or maybe that’s all just me ;)
Hospitality - the real, biblical kind - is being tuned in to these “silent asks.” It’s more than having people over dinner regularly. It’s seeing on Instagram that a friend is in the throes of potty training their child and dropping off a coloring book and crayons for the child and a LARGE coffee for the mama. It’s being a little pushy about picking a date on the calendar to hang out instead of just generically saying “soon.” Hospitality hears the silent ask from the new mom struggling to get her baby to just. go. to. sleep! and says I’m coming over without pausing long enough to let the mom say no. Biblical hospitality sees the embarrassed mom in Target, the stranger, who’s child is having the meltdown of the century and shoots her a sympathetic smile and maybe even encourages and says “hang in there mama!”
So often times we feel like for our actions to matter they have to be big. Surely it requires big sacrifices of time, money, energy, or resources. However, that’s simply not true! Biblical hospitality does require sacrifice - but the amount doesn’t matter. What matters is listening for the silent ask and then doing something, anything, about it! Maybe your schedule is swamped and you really can’t hang out until a month from now. Pencil in the date anyway and know that you’re doing your best to be a good friend. Maybe you don’t have the time to drop off coffee to the potty-training mom; send her a text with a gif or a meme that will make her laugh at just the right moment. Perhaps your whole family has “the crud” so you can’t go hold the newborn. Pray for the mom and the baby fervently to find a routine, and for strength for the weary days.
None of us can do everything, but we can all do something! Ask God to give you his heart and his ears to be able to notice the silent asks. Then ask for wisdom to know how to help. On that note, how have you shown biblical hospitality lately? Are you the kind to throw out a silent ask instead of a direct S.O.S? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.