We are not all the same. We do not fit into the same categories. Yes, we are all humans; on that level, we are the same. But everything else…there are no two people alike.
With that being said I am going to pinpoint this post toward the people who are like me—the ones who are always a little less than content, always seeking more, battling feelings of restlessness and insignificance, desiring to meet the needs of others, wondering when others are going to meet their needs.
While I, and most likely you, know and understand that Jesus is meant to meet all our needs (and should meet all our needs), I want you to understand that it is OK to have emotional needs within the relationships you maintain in this world.
Through this post I want you to be encouraged to find and understand your own emotional needs, how to take note of another’s emotional needs and how our needs are met through the person (and people) of Christ.
I think one of the best ways to learn about yourself is to notice how others have gotten to know themselves. Seeing as you are reading my latest blog post, I will offer an interpretation of my own needs so you can see if yours match up, give you a sort of starting point.
I can be summed up with three needs: support, encouragement and kindness.
Emotional support has been difficult to come by at different points of my journey, but it is one of the most valuable gifts I can receive. It comes in the small moments when something big is about to happen. Their support comes in an active laying down of themselves and what they think is the best thing in order to lift me up in what I’m pursuing—even if they do not agree.
When I am supported, I feel encouraged. But there are other components to the encouragement factor. It is one of those spiritual gifts that can rely heavily on words and actions. However, I rely heavier on the words. Encouraging actions do not hold much weight without the words. And I never knew this was a need of mine until I suddenly did not have encouraging words from a few important people as I contemplated the next big moves in my life. Words were void. They left mouths with no intention of finding the right landing pad. In the time I have discovered this need, I have had a hard time picturing how I lived without being aware of it for so long. It is so ingrained, and perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy trying to encourage others around me.
On to kindness. It sounds pretty self-explanatory, I know, so I will not offer much of an explanation. What I will say is it makes me comfortable, gives me a place where I belong. Laying out kindness as your welcome mat builds a connection not easily broken because kindness creates a safe space. For me to be comfortable around someone, I need to know I’m safe. And kindness is but one way to create that.
So…do any of these needs sound anything like yours? If you know your needs, are you making them known? There’s no shame in sharing what you need. And do not ever let anyone convince you your needs are not in line with God’s will…they are. Sharing needs does not make you weaker; if anything, it makes you stronger.
Now that you know your own emotional needs, let me ask you another question: How much time do you dedicate to learning the emotional needs of another?
From the time I was a small child, I was always comfortable with being observant rather than outgoing. With age, I noticed I could observe people. In my own relationships, it has come in moments of stress and peace, joy and despair, simply in being able to see how others react and how I can best assist them.
I love to ask questions. I always say, “I’ll never know until I ask.” It is true. Assuming never got anyone to a good place. You have to be willing to ask the right questions. Asking the simple question, “What can I do for you?” has the power to do so much.
I love to form connections because this helps form trust. People will know you are a trustworthy person if in you they can detect genuine kindness, interest, a desire to help, someone willing to listen. And even more so, if they can detect a consistency of those things. Consistency tells them they can rely on those beautiful traits of yours, and the connection only grows stronger with time because they are able to trust you.
Finally, be willing to sacrifice or compromise. Not to unhealthy proportions, not to the point of neglecting yourself to take care of another. But in just being able to discern when someone else’s needs should take precedence over your own.
I have noticed that God created me to be in relationships with people. It is fulfilling. And can be distracting. But please understand something: If you are like me and you know you are meant to be in relationships with others, there is nothing wrong with that. We are wired in a certain way, a way God ordained. The struggle is in knowing how to pursue God as the satisfaction of your needs before pursuing a human.
If ever a day goes by that I am not grateful for the relationships I have then it is a day I cease to remember they are but one way God has met my needs. He could bring absolutely anyone into my life, yet He chooses to bring people who offer love and support and encouragement, growth and development. And those who are only meant to be present for a short time, He uses them as well.
My always wanting more…that is there because He deemed it should be. And He only is able to reach down to the depths of my heart and soul, appraise what I need and fully meet those needs in ways that even I cannot comprehend at times.
What are your needs? What are the needs of those around you? And how are you training your heart to know God meets all of your needs?
Here is a verse that has brought comfort and motivation—“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand” (Psalm 139:12-18).