Are Our Deepest Needs Fillable?
As New Year’s Eve approaches, many of us feel the weight of expected self-reflection and new year resolutions. What’s going right in our lives? What needs to be tweaked? What’s definitely not working?
Do we have the friends we want? The significant other we crave? The prestige and financial success we’ve decided we deserve? What is that “one thing” that you truly believe will make you happy in 2017?
Are you smart enough…rich enough…thin enough…tall enough…sexy enough? Are any of us ever “enough”???
Studies suggest that there are just three things we all desperately want:
1). To be loved
2). To be accepted
3). To feel we matter
Many people walk around hoping that someone — anyone? — will validate these deepest needs. Sometimes our desire for validation gets seriously out of control. Is that what’s up with all the selfies on Facebook?
Cultural tolerance tells us that “truth” and “happiness” lies within us — but then jacks with us by suggesting that we’re not “enough” unless others say we are. When you think about it, we are kinda cray-cray for handing so much control of our self-worth over to another pesky human. Especially on Facebook, where everyone else seems to be living a far more exciting/ successful/happier life than we are.
Comparing ourselves to celebrities and “friends” on FB is both addicting and exhausting. And it can be seriously depressing when few have liked or shared out stuff. But here’s the good news that the secular world disavows: We are fully loved and accepted by the creator of the universe. Holy cow, Batman! His Word guarantees that we have His promise on that.
God Says He Accepts Us
The world is kind to those it deems “worthy,” but man, it sure can be harsh to those it does not. How does God feel about our worthiness? Is it defined by our bank account or our popularity ranking? Must we earn His acceptance? Thankfully, no!
God’s Word simply says this: God fully accepts us.
If you were brought up, as I was, in a household that demanded perfection, you likely have had a hard time believing this biblical truth. But allow me to take a line from an uber popular movie soundtrack: LET IT GO!
Let it go, let it go.
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day.
Then let God affirm you. To do otherwise is to hold yourself back from basking in the joy of His unmerited acceptance.
Our worth doesn’t change based on our zip code. It doesn’t change based on the logo on our clothes. It can’t be altered by the perspective of others — unless we allow them that control. Consider the marvel of this biblical truth: Christ sees us at our very best, as well as our absolute worst, and still finds us acceptable! Don’t choose to live as if God’s love is dependent on your performance. I only wish I could get back all the years I wasted believing I had to be “good enough” for God’s affection.
As Pastor Rick Warren says, “You only need the love and approval of one person, and you already have it: God says you are acceptable!”
God Says We Matter to Him
Sometimes, when I fail yet again to be loving or kind or generous or fruity, I question why God never gives up on me. But then I look around, at the precision and complexity of our amazing planet. Our God is a masterful creator; the things He makes are beautiful. He sees us as beautiful, too, because he sees our potential. As Joyce Meyer says, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” God continues His good work in us (another promise!) because we matter to Him. God in extremely interested in the smallest detail of our daily existence.
We need just one verse, Romans 5:8, to remind us of how important God says we are to him: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Luke 12:6-7 is another personal favorite of mine. Jesus asks, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
God Says He Yearns for Connection With Us
Here’s the thing about trying to get these deepest needs validated by people: people often fail us, perhaps just when we need them most. It takes a lot of maturity to bounce back from that disappointment. But the Bible tells us that God is always for us, and always working for our good. Even when it feels like He is miles away from us, seemingly turning a deaf ear to our prayers. God may allow us to struggle, perhaps to strength us or grow our trust in Him, but His Word promises that He is always near. His love and acceptance never cease to be with us.
Take Psalm 139:7-8 to heart: “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.”
When I was a teen, I remember how desperately I craved to be accepted by the popular crowd. Ironically, I discovered that the “in crowd” wasn’t really all that cool to be with. Too much jockeying for position; too much constant worrying over whether my social standing had slipped or skyrocketed. Ironically, I used to view God’s affection for me that way, too. One minute I’d feel accepted, the next despised. Note that the problem lay with my mindset; my inability to rest in His unceasing love. But one glorious day it happened: I finally got tired of fighting God over whether He could be trusted to love me through thick and thin. Whew! It’s so much better trusting that He meets my deepest needs and my daily needs!
Thought to Ponder
God created us with an innate knowledge of Himself. His Word tells us that if we seek Him (put in the effort), we will find Him (the ultimate payoff). Is an intimate knowledge of God worth your time and effort during 2017? If you want my two cents, I’d hasten you to go for it. Life based on the firm foundation of God’s unceasing love and tender mercy beats, far and away, the slippery slope of “truth” and “love” that cultural tolerance tells us assures personal peace and joy. Do you agree that your deepest needs can be met through Jesus?