I don’t always ask for help when I need it.
It’s not that I don’t know that I need it, or that there aren’t people willing to offer me assistance. But sometimes I forget that I can’t do everything alone, and I don’t always remember just how much help is available to me if I simply ask.
Earlier this year I lost my favorite piece of jewelry.
I had just moved back home and my sisters gifted me a tiny gold cross for my birthday. One morning, when it wasn’t where I left it, I assumed someone borrowed it without telling me (you know how sisters can be).
A few days later, after tearing apart the house and interrogating my sisters, it was still nowhere to be found. I was frustrated, annoyed with myself for being careless, and I knew that continuing to look for it in the same places over and over wasn’t going to work. At a loss, and with a sense of urgency that was a touch dramatic for a missing thing, I knew that my only option left was to ask for a different kind of help.
Since I had already recruited my dad and sisters days ago, I was left with the only other option I could think of: prayer.
I turned to St. Phanourius.
We don’t know much about St. Phanourius, except for what we can see about his life in an icon that was discovered hundreds of years ago, but he is known for helping people find what they’re looking for. Being the forgetful person I am, I pray to him a lot.
I’ve had an affinity for him as long as I can remember, especially because I have always been able to physically see the help he provides for me. Whenever I turn to him, I am aware of his active participation in my life. It’s fascinating and hard to explain. Seeing results every now and again is a good reminder that help is coming, even if I can’t always see it.
(Like what happened with the cross I lost.)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Asking for help isn’t my favorite thing to do. I like to think of myself as a capable, independent, young woman, one who can normally solve her own problems. For me, admitting defeat is often just as difficult as asking for help. Both feel like shots to the ego. It’s admitting that you’re not as self-reliant as you may have thought.
It’s admitting to yourself and to others that you can’t do this alone.
This process of admitting weakness and turning to others is never easy because it requires a lot of humility.
And humility is hard.
Even though I know that the fear of asking, of humility, of feeling inadequate is eclipsed by the payoff, I still hesitate. In the moment, I’d rather be able to depend upon myself. But to offer and receive help is a big part of who we are as part of the Church. Christ, the Church, my spiritual father, my local priest, and the saints are all here to help me. We are all working toward the same goal, and being able to work together and help one another is part of the beauty of our Faith.
We’re not simply individuals, detached and self-reliant. We’re persons, who depend on each other and find ourselves in our relationships with each other. And that connection always includes humbly realizing that, alone, we aren’t fully ourselves.
That we need others in more ways than we can count.
Though I still often fall into the myth of self-reliant individuality, I’m working to make sure that happens less, especially in my spiritual life. It helps that I don’t need to pretend to never need help in the Church, that there is always help that is available to me, as long as I’m willing to ask for it. I am being constantly prayed for, just as I’m (trying to) constantly pray for others.
Even something small, like asking for help to find my cross, is a reminder that I don’t have to do this all alone.
I found my cross the day after I prayed to St. Phanourius. It was inside a boot I hadn’t worn in a year. Never under his own power, always under God’s power (because the saints don’t do it alone, either), he has consistently helped me find whatever I am looking for.
Whether it’s a tiny piece of jewelry or something even harder to find.
Charissa is a Young Adult Ministries Coordinator for Y2AM. Charissa grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah where she studied political science at the University of Utah. She enjoys sunshine, the mountains and snowcones. Charissa currently lives in New York City.
For more on how we help each other, check out this episode of Be the Bee: