Saturday, February 21, 2009

Needing Others

Is it okay to desperately need others? Or what I mean is, as a “Christian,” is it okay to need the love of other people? Does acknowledging this make me less of a Christian; that maybe my need in some way means God’s love isn’t enough for me? Because no matter how “close to God” I may or may not feel, I still recognize this deep need to be loved by others. I believe God calls us to love others as he loves us, but for some reason to me this has always sounded like some sort of service I’m doing for others and not for the benefit of myself. As if I’m graciously bestowing my love and death to self since after all you are in great need. I, on the other hand, am the mature one holding the supply of love and not requiring any for myself.

Is it a sign of growth to recognize I can’t live in solitude, or does this mean I am sad and co-dependent? I used to think I was on this team with God and every problem life threw me could be solved with more prayer or bible reading. And if for some crazy reason life seemed to be falling apart anyways obviously I wasn’t really praying hard enough or with a pure enough heart. I just needed to be a little more spiritual. Exhaustion, depression, and loneliness pretty much summed up that period of my life.

I know that God is ultimately where my hope should lie, but does this mean that needing others is bad? There seems to be a lack of humility somewhere when I believe that God has given me all the strength and love life requires. I think there has to be a balance. A middle ground that allows me to accept the love and care of others while still valuing myself and who God made me to be. I can’t believe that desiring love and acceptance from other people makes me a weaker person. At least I hope not.

Is there a line though? When is it healthy to need others and when is it not? Is it okay as long as my self-worth isn’t at stake? I know that by God’s grace I am His child and loved unconditionally. I also believe that no one will love me as fully as Christ. Yet I have to believe relationships with other people also have purpose and one far greater than simply alleviating boredom in this life. I think God puts the people that are in my life for a special reason. Though I don’t make any claims of having it right, I do deeply desire to love and be loved. And yes, I think that is good.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Have you ever wondered how after the dead of winter nature comes back to life so fully in the spring? I think it’s kind of interesting to look around now at lawns that have whispered their last breath this season and know that in a few months they will once again contain beauty and life. If they had minds to think would they live in depression of their current state or stay hopeful of what most assuredly awaits them? Of course we all know seasons come and go and plants don’t feel one way or the other about it. I guess my point is since it is so clear in observing nature that life contains seasons why do I become so depressed by them. I don’t mean depressed by the seasons outside but more the ones in my life. It seems almost annoyingly obvious from observers that “this too shall pass” but as the one experiencing the deadening so to speak for some reason it’s so hard to remember spring will soon come.

Although if you look around not every plant is dead just because it’s winter. Some have survived showing that the change in seasons has not affected them as severely. I wonder why? Why do some plants die and some don’t? Maybe it hasn’t really been that much of a winter? Maybe they have learned to adapt? Whatever the case may be I think the world is trying to tell me something. Tell me to get over myself a little. My mom told me quite often growing up that I am a drama queen. Maybe this is a right of passage for girls and all, either way she knows me too well. When something doesn’t go the way I expect or desire, I can be very quick to take offense at how life has wronged me. Don’t I deserve a happy and easy life? I think so darn it! Plants may not have much of a choice in okay, "Is this winter going to kill me or not?", but I know I do. I can determine how greatly my circumstances will affect my peace. I think the challenge for me remains having strength in the midst of life’s uncertainties. Maybe my at times dramatic response to life simply mirrors a harsh realization that I am in fact without the necessary strength to survive it. Bleh! I want to clearly see the bigger picture and not get so bogged down by the details. So hard though. How can I have the outsider’s perspective when I’m on the inside? I think that is what God tries to constantly remind me. That only He has a completely outsider perspective.

So is he just watching me from above then and shaking his head at my foolishness? Does he care?

Hebrews 4: 15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

A great comfort it is to know that God compassionately bestows His grace and mercy in our time of need. Surely we will never deserve it. Selfishly I’m not sure this is enough for me. Maybe this is the drama queen speaking but why isn’t he alleviating the situation that burdens me. Like completely getting rid of it??

Romans 5: 1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.

Can I be really honest here? Most of the time when I read this passage I roll my eyes and if not literally at least in my mind. We “rejoice in our sufferings”?? Oh really? Who? Who goes on rejoicing I’d like to know? Who is the one saying “Awesome, God is graciously letting me suffer today!” Sarcasm aside, I do wonder what that really means. Maybe I don’t have the mind or understanding to really unpack that passage in its fullness, but I do think there is a lesson for me to learn here. One that quickly informs me of my wavering faith and that if life always came easy where would I place my hope. How would I even know the depth of my faith if it was never tested? (1Peter 1:7)

Why am I so forgetful of God’s love when winter comes? For some odd reason God has always been patient in my doubts. When I leave my stubbornness behind, in an effort to go back to Him, somehow he is always there. Thankfully God remains patient as I learn to trust Him. Eventually that will soak in more and maybe one day I will rejoice in sufferings?? And hopefully find contentment resting in the knowledge that the One who does know the big picture loves me even in the winter.

Philippians 4: 4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.