Let me explain.
Somewhere along the road of my life I concluded that needs were these nasty little irritants that got in the way of me being an independent, strong and self-sufficient woman.
I abhor the word "needy". I once had a (ex) boyfriend who said "girls are just needy, that's just how they are" I bristled softly beneath this extreme stereotypical statement. I calmly challenged his line of thinking with as much grace I could tolerate. But what I really wanted to do was punch him in the face.
I thought if I shared my needs I would be punished.
I’m not exactly talking about my need for coffee or my need to wash my car. I’m talking about deep emotional needs. (although let’s be honest, my need for coffee is about there but I have no issue asking for it)
I’m talking about ‘hey it’s 2am and I am terrified and I need to be held’ Or ‘I need to eat’ because I’m getting all shaky and spinny. Or ‘I honestly can’t afford this and I really think I need it’ Or ‘I can’t do this alone today, can you come?’ SOoooooooo SCarrrrrrryyyyyyyy
I hold my breath as I ask for my needs to be met. I expect shame to be an answer. I expect to be punished for having needs. My toxic thoughts have erupted into You’re a grown ass woman, keep it together, figure this out by yourself…
Thankfully I am reminded of a parable Jesus told about a man who had great NEED. He spent all his money recklessly, lived a wild life, and suddenly found himself in such a rut he couldn’t pull himself out. There was no “pull yerself up by the boot straps” going on. There was only one last ray of hope and that was to get some help. Speak needs. The prodigal son stumbled his way home to his Father’s house.
How surprising it must have been for him to not even be able to get his needs off his chest when his father rushes toward him in an embrace!
You have needs! Awesome! So glad you came! We will throw a party in honor of your needs and roast a fattened calf.
No punishment at all. The opposite. A party. A celebration.
And yet in my own life every time I speak my needs, it’s like a freaking party rolls in. It’s like the red carpet rolls out. Expecting thorns of judgment, I get roses of acceptance. And the other crazy party is that when I share my needs others do it too! They start sharing their story about when they were in deep need and how those needs were met.
All this need stuff has given me courage to listen to what my body and heart need. I've learned to listen instead of telling myself to suck it up. I have started using a tender voice with me, "Yes, you need to breathe, okay let's do that. You feel too tired to push through? Okay, let's take a break"
What would it look like for us to reward our minds and bodies and hearts for having needs? What if the next time you have a need, you are gentle with you? Maybe we can take the stance of Jesus a little more often. Maybe we can run towards each other when we are in desperate need. Maybe we can throw parties instead of shame fests for those who speak their needs. I'll bring the balloons, you bring the confetti alright?