So, I did something crazy today. Not arrest crazy, just crazy. You see, in class we were shown a TED talk by Amanda Palmer (seen above, minor content warning) and she talked a lot about connection and the art of asking for help in order to foster said connection. After watching this video our professor brother Gwiliam gave us two options. Either we could stay in the classroom and discuss the textbook for the last twenty minutes of class, or we could go out and do something that fosters connection-ask for something. Now, something to know about me is that I’m an introvert with some extroverted qualities, however even when I’m in slight extrovert mode I am not vulnerable whatsoever. I don’t want to be rejected, or to get hurt. Yet, as brother Gwilliam gave us the options something clicked.

do you understand the words

I knew this is what I needed to do, even though I  was scared. So, I left class and approached a girl I saw sitting inside the building. Unfortunately, I had no plan of attack whatsoever. So, I complemented her shoes, and then stood there awkwardly. I asked her if she was waiting for a class (she wasn’t) then continued to stand there in silence very awkwardly. I asked her if there was anything I could do to make her day brighter (no) so after standing there for a few moments I left. Yeah, so needless to say, that didn’t really work. I knew I hadn’t connected or made the impact that I needed to. If I was going to succeed at this, I would have to be vulnerable. I would have to use shock therapy on myself and do something I was maybe a little more than slightly uncomfortable with, and something that was maybe more than a little nuts. I sat down, made of list of things I could do, decided on a project, and I headed out for the MC-the busiest building on campus. My project: I was going approach complete strangers and ask them if they would pray with me.

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When I get there, I see a guy sitting on the floor near the ballrooms working on his laptop. Apparently my first instinct is flight because I dart around a wall and sit there trying to build up the guts to approach him… It takes a good five minutes. Finally, backpack slung over my shoulder all nonchalant like I just happened to see him-rather than stalking him freakishly from my corner for the past few minutes-I kneel down in front of him.

“I need your help, would you be willing to help me?” I ask, my eyes on his.

“Of course, what do you need?”

“Would you pray with me?”

“Yeah, absolutely.” He says. (Much more receptive than I had anticipated)

“What’s your name?”

“Br***en,” Then we bow our heads, and I pray. I pray in gratitude for this school, I pray for “my friend Br***en”, I pray that he will feel God’s light and joy, and that he will learn what he needs to to be a champion of God’s work. When I finish the prayer, I touch his knee and look into his eyes and say

“Thank you so much.”

“Yeah, thank you for that.” he says, after that I leave. I did this saying the same thing three more times. “I need your help, I need your help, I need your help,”  I found someone on a staircase and we prayed there on the steps together.  I stopped someone in the middle of the sidewalk and we prayed for her homework and her growth in being a disciple of Christ. I stopped someone else in the testing center, just before she was to go and take a test, and we prayed in the doorway that her test would be successful. As I left the testing center, I felt it was time to try something else crazy.

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So, I approached a guy and asked if he would do an experiment with me. I asked him to hold eye contact with me for one minute (using a timer on my phone) without breaking eye contact. While we looked into each others eyes we talked about his major, a presentation he was working on, and life at college. When the timer went off, I gave him a high five and I left. Okay, time to raise the stakes.
So, I did something even crazier. I walked up to a guy and asked him his name, and I asked him if I could write him a love letter. I know what you’re thinking “You did what?” Haha, I know! The thing is, he was super kind, and we sat together for a few minutes as he worked on his math homework and I penned a love letter to him in my well used notebook. When I was done I ripped out the page, handed it to him, and left with a smile and a thank you. A few minutes later, I ran into a gal from class and we discussed what we were working on, and how difficult it was to have the courage to pick someone and just walk up to them and speak! Ha-ha. At least for me, anyways. Once we parted ways, I picked my last person. He had just finished his meal, and was looking out the window when I came up to him. It took a moment to get his attention. Once I did, I asked him if he too would allow me to write him a love letter. Cautiously, he said yes. As I sat and wrote, we discussed his major, and how school was going. We talked about him, and his life. In a few short moments the letter was done, and I gave it to him and left for home.

excuse me while I do my tyra banks

Walking out of that building, I can’t put into words how changed I felt. I wasn’t so scared of approaching someone, or talking to someone as they pass me on the sidewalk. I felt the courage to ask for the things I needed and wanted, because I had already asked complete strangers for something I was so scared of asking for. I had asked them for help. You see, each time I made myself utter the words “I need your help, would you be willing to help me?” each time, without exception, I was told (in so many words) “Yes I will help you.” As I left, I felt such joy. The only sorrow in my heart was that I knew I wouldn’t be likely to see these people again. I now felt such a caring for them all-especially those I prayed with-and I was sad to see them go. I had built a connection, even one of just a few short moments. I’m so grateful for this class providing me with that experience. In the future, I pray that I will go out and relive this challenge every time I feel myself becoming closed and guarded. I pray that instead of hiding, I will choose to connect with someone in a way that is different and unorthodox. I pray I will ask for help. Because today I left campus with such hope, hope that I didn’t have before, and I left knowing I had made an impact.  I left knowing I was capable of really making a difference in someone else’s life, and what’s more I left without the fear of doing it.

help somebody in need