Why Am I So Needy?
By: Elisabeth Klein I seem to have a pattern with men (and by pattern I mean that this has happened maybe two or three times in my life). Ready?
What they offer me (in my head) isn’t enough.
I don’t say this like a diva who thinks she deserves the sun and the moon and stars, because I don’t. I say that as in, even when I’m given an inordinate amount of affirmation, when my cup overfloweth, I realize that I leak. That I’m bottomless. That I want – or more to the point, I convince myself, I need – more. Stat.
I was discussing this with my mentor recently because it’s an issue and I don’t know what to do about it. I told her that though I recognize in my head that what I’m being told is not only good and wonderful, but that it’s abundant and lavish, that my heart still sometimes seems to scream out for more, more, more. And I wanted to know why, especially as I am living a full life of my own, doing things I love, with sweet friends to walk with me, kids who are awesome, a church I find solace in, et cetera. And I wanted to know what to do about it. Because it’s frustrating to me (not just to me) and this thing of mine has the capacity to drive me nuts (and drive others away). And it leaves me feeling…..unsettled.
She, of course, had some thoughts. She pointed out that I have some wounds from my past, and that though I’ve done the work of looking at them from every angle and going to counseling and reading books and asking Jesus to help me and heal me, it’s sort of like if I were created to have two lungs, but I only had one. And so I spent my life compensating for just having the one. Yes, I was able to live. But each deep breath took extra effort and yet was still a bit stifled. And though I exercised and asked Jesus to help me, he’s not about to regenerate a new second lung.
I will always have these wounds of mine. They will always be a part of who I am. I am much more whole now than I ever have been, and I have learned to cope with them and work around them and protect myself and others from them, for the most part, but just like I wouldn’t just magically wake up with a new lung, I will never be fully released from the effects of my past.
And what my past has done has left me insecure. (Something I hate, by the way.) (Then again, I wouldn’t beat myself up for only having one lung…..so I suppose accepting my reality and showing myself grace might not be a bad idea here.) I have fears of being unloved and abandoned that follow me around, that linger as background noise in my day-to-day, that haunt me. It heightens my sense of loneliness and it can sometimes make me clingy and needy as all get out. (I pity the fool who tries to get close. #run)
However…..though I will not be completely relieved from this deficit, this longing, this deep need this side of heaven (though I am praying that I will be, or at least the maturity to handle it better) until I am a part of the fullness of Christ in the heavenly realm, as my mentor reminded me, I still don’t have to let it drive my every thought and word and action.
I may feel bottomless. I may feel like I leak. And, at times, I do. Sometimes the one hundred and one good words just don’t feel like enough..…where is that one hundred and second? What’s a girl gotta do around here?
And in those moments, I must come to a place of recognizing that panicky feeling, that feeling like I really do only have one lung, that feeling like it’s going to end soon, that perhaps it already has and I haven’t noticed. And then, I must give that feeling to Jesus. I absolutely must. He does not promise to take away all our yucky feelings. But he promises to be with us in them. When my mind is racing and my heart is anxious, I can tell him. I can ask him for peace. I can pretend it’s in my hand and I can lift my hand to the sky and ask Jesus to take it from me. And then I can turn my attention to something else. To the task in front of me. To whatever person is in the room with me. To my redemptive work. To the beauty of nature. To praying for someone in need.
And I can remind myself that what I have is a gift. That it’s more than I had in years’ past and it is more than enough…..it’s gratefully more than enough.
I have to admit, sometimes doing all of these steps doesn’t take away that swirling feeling. And that’s okay. It’s all okay. Of course I’m bottomless. (You are too, in your own quirky, big and little ways.) But if I weren’t…..if we weren’t…..we wouldn’t need Jesus. And I am so grateful that I need him.
You can find freedom here with Fashioned Before the Stars, People of the Second Chance’s Freeway for Women series.