Please, Please, Meet My Needs!   3 comments

CAN I PLEASE JUST HAVE THE BONE?

It seems to me that if we do not find in God the ultimate answer to our needs, we become dangerously dependent on others.  If I think my wife is the sole channel of God’s grace for any substantial need and she fails me, then my only recourse is to force her compliance.  I might cajole, argue, bargain, threaten… there are a hundred ways to get her to “fall in line,” but this manipulation undermines her sincere love.

Genuine love must grow in an atmosphere of freedom, not control.  That is frightening because freedom allows my friend to choose to be unloving and uncaring, refusing to help with my needs.  If I make no demands, but offer unconditional love, he may take advantage of me, take all I have to offer and give little in return.  And if my needs go unmet, I cannot survive. So when I sense a disparity between how much I give and how much I get, I react to protect myself.  If I protect myself by giving less, I feel bad for my selfishness, for my lack of generosity, and I feel a distance growing in my heart towards him.  So instead I subtly (or plainly) push him to give more.

This approach did not go over well with Kimberly.  She felt the pressure of my expectations and recognized the conditionality of my love.  When she chose not to do as I wished, I felt unloved and became resentful, critical, and demanding.  This in turn made her feel unloved.  I tried to pressure her to comply, to prove her care by meeting my expectations.  She insisted on a more honest path to resolving our conflict, one that made room for both of our needs and for genuine rather than forced expressions of love.

I thought love was proved by what it gave—if folks didn’t give, they didn’t care—and this was intolerable to me because it inflated my fears of unworthiness.  I gave to others with the expectation that they would reciprocate and so prove my lovability.  My mind tightly bound together loving motivation and helping behavior, and I desperately needed Kimberly to prove my worth by setting aside her feelings to meet my needs.  Through long conversations and consistent responses, Berly expressed her care for my needs without yielding to my pressure to change her behavior (and so abandon her own needs in favor of mine).  It took years for me to believe she loved me in spite of not coming to my rescue.  I slowly realized that someone can love without helping and help without loving, that sometimes the truest and hardest love is one that does not give when giving would beguile the loved one into a false security.

I wanted to stop feeling my insecurity and Kimberly wanted me to embrace it, understand it, work through it.  If she helped me to avoid those feelings, it would undermine our relationship.  For her part, she was afraid of my resentment, and wanted to act in a way that would hold it at bay, but she knew living out of that fear would keep her from sharing herself honestly and vulnerably with me.  Things might go smoothly between us, but we would be sacrificing substance for façade.  Slowly we both stepped into our fears and broke through to a deeper understanding of ourselves and one another, a deeper trust, and a deeper freedom to accept who we are.  We encourage and help each other to find a way to meet our needs, but do not take the responsibility for this on ourselves.  Of course, sometimes our needs conflict, but that is another story altogether.

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Posted September 7, 2011 by janathangrace in Personal, thoughts

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3 responses to “Please, Please, Meet My Needs!

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  1. I like that!

  2. This is one of my quick interpretations of what you wrote…….

    Our truest, fullest freedom is found only in our Savior, Jesus Christ who lives in and through every person who believes in Him. Because of our imperfection we all will dissapoint, fail, sin against others and is a proof to our need of a Savior. Not that we can ever attain perfection on this earth, but only when we reach eternity will receive our complete, perfect gift of grace. Freedom does not mean taking responsibility for one’s own actions is unnecessary, but using our actions as a guage to measure how great a relationship is or is not will never work, or allow a relationship to be as great as it is capable of becoming with God as the guide. Willingness to admit failure is as an open wound to the air which in time with correct application will be fully healed. When a relationship begins, one can compare this to opening a wrapped gift that can flourish. As the persons receive and open their gift, they discover what is loved and hated inside – from one extreme to the other. The responses to all that is found in the gift are the individual’s responsibility. Utilizing insight, depth of mind and heart to understand their gift will also reveal to each more about theirselves. Additionally, releasing our fears of inadequacy to God will allow Him to show us, build us into the beauty and love within.

  3. Thank you both for your comments!

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