Monday, April 19, 2010

Needs? What Needs?

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." 
Matthew 6:8

Today I want to share with you a significant lesson I have learned within the past few years: I have needs.

This simple lesson was oh so very hard for me to swallow. I have always been a little on the independent side. I have always just done it myself. It seemed so much easier than burdening anyone else. And if I can do it, why should I ask you anyway? I feel pretty confident that I have never been described by anyone who knows me as "needy."

Yes, I needed Christ. But, even that involved a long hard run at trying to do the church/religious thing without coming to Him. It failed, of course. BUT the point is I tried! How foolish is that?

No one wants to be described as needy! It sends the message of weakness and desperation. And what happens when I see a person who is described as needy? Well, I run the other way! I'm not up to filling some black hole of emotional needs. And it is draining to try.

Jeff VanVonderen taught me this: we all have the same emotional needs. It's just that some of us got those needs met growing up and some of us did not. We still have emotional needs today, but if my childhood needs for love, security, empathy, nurturing, etc. were met, then I am coming from a healthy place. I am more able to trust that I will get what I need from those around me (friends, spouse, family).

As an aside, let me say "Thanks, Mom and Dad!"

If, however, I was not well cared for in those areas of childhood need, then I am in an unhealthy place. I will wonder constantly if my needs will be met. And my searching and reaching and making poor choices makes me look more needy than others. But, we all have the same emotional needs.

God created us with needs. It is not an "after the fall" thing. In the perfection of the Garden, in the very beginning, when Adam already had the complete and unbroken fellowship with the Father, God looked on Adam and said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Here is the Lord of the Universe observing His unblemished and perfect creation in the perfect environment and He says man needs someone else to relate to and share his life with besides God alone. God designed us for relationship: relationship with Him and relationship with others.

One of my counselors opened my eyes to my own need for help and day to day support, when she asked me one simple question. "Karen, I want you to finish this sentence: I need _____." Immediately tears starting running down my face. Here was someone who recognized that I had a need. I hadn't really been sure that having needs was okay. If all my needs are met in Christ Jesus, why would I have any needs left? Couldn't I now conquer the world or at the very least provide all that my family might need? (Notice that I was not to have needs, but my family could.)

"Help" was the word that filled in the blank. I needed help. I couldn't do it all anymore. I was exhausted and overwhelmed from trying. It was time for me to let go of some of my responsibilities. It was time to share the load.

My friend, Melissa Haas, put it this way: "Me and Jesus are not enough. God gave us each other (the Body of Christ) to help, encourage and support one another. We are not meant to go it alone. There are no Lone Ranger Christians." (And even he had Tonto!)

I still have a tendency to do things myself. I still have a tendency to not ask for help. However, now I am aware that those tendencies are there and that they are not healthy. I am growing and moving towards becoming interdependent with my family, with the Body, and with my friends. I do not just take, take, take. I do not just give, give, give. I give and take. I am a human being and I have needs.

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