75. Stoic or Stupid?

I don’t think I would make a very good Viking.

I hate cold weather. I lack any kind of vicious bloodlust. Most importantly, I can’t grow a beard. Thus it is proved. Adam would not make a good Viking.

Regardless, I possess one quality that would make any Viking proud: quiet stoicism.

When confronted with trials and tribulations, I don’t usually talk about them. Whether depression or headache, discouragement or insomnia, sadness or soreness, I keep my problems to myself.

In some ways, quiet stoicism isn’t such a bad thing. I know people who could probably use a little stoicism: the sort of people who regularly insist on describing all of their frustrations in painstaking detail. One reason I don’t talk much about my problems is that I don’t want to annoy anyone.

In other ways, however, quiet stoicism is kind of stupid.

To be honest, one of the reasons I keep my struggles to myself is to give the impression that I don’t have any. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It can be embarrassing. The easiest option is sometimes to be stoic and tough out my problems alone.

The trouble is that some problems are too big for anyone to tough out alone.

As much as I’d like to pretend I’m totally self-sufficient, I’m not. There are times I need someone to give me advice, encouragement or criticism. There are times I need someone to listen to me. There are times I need someone simply to be there.

Not long ago, I realized I’d made such a habit of trying to deal with my problems alone that I was forgetting to ask God for help when difficulties arose. It wasn’t a deliberate, “I’ll take care of this little complication, God, and ask you to handle the really big problems” kind of decision. In fact, it wasn’t a decision at all. Asking for help simply didn’t occur to me.

Stoic or not, forgetting to ask the Lord God Almighty for help is stupid. He doesn’t merely allow us to ask for help when we need it. He flat-out commands us to ask for help when we need it!

Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Peter added, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Quiet stoicism can be a virtue. I’m a reserved person, and I don’t plan to tell everyone about every problem. I think it’s good sometimes to work through problems patiently.

In the end, though, ain’t it better to ask for help?

3 thoughts on “75. Stoic or Stupid?

  1. I’m a soooo reading myself in this. I’ve become even more silently stoic since 6 months ago I moved 800 miles away. I realize now just how much I relied on my friends to look me in the eye and say “Kate, how are you REALLY doing?” or “have you asked God about (fill in the blank)”. And even putting it back on my friends is just making excuses.

    I need to remember that part of being on a journey with God means less stoic and more relationship.

  2. i like this but just because you ask for help doesnt mean youll get it. If God doesnt come to the immediate rescue of kids getting raped why will he come to my rescue

    • You ask a fair question, but I’m not the best person to answer it. (Besides, the comments section of a blog is a terrible place for theological discussions.) If you’re really interested in getting an answer, I recommend reading The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis or talking in person with a pastor or Christian friend.

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