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Do you have what you need to succeed in life? This question is similar to, “How are you?” It’s easy to give simple, “I’m fine” or “Sure, I have what I need” answers. But what if I really wanted to know and you took the time to give a sincere answer?
What is required for your success? This might be a tricky question to answer for several reasons:
- You’ve been trained to believe it’s too selfish.
- No one has ever given you what you need.
- The answer will be too personal.
God Wants You to Ask for What You Need
God is always looking for ways to redeem His people. When Adam and Eve felt shame for the first time, God developed short-term and long-term plans to help them succeed. Ultimately He fulfilled His own laws for us so that we can live without the shame of failure (1 Peter 2:24). But He also immediately provided clothing for Adam and Eve.
Even though everyone between Adam and those alive today has suffered, God hasn’t stopped taking care of us. He instructs us to ask Him for good gifts. What you need is nutritious for you, so it’s worth asking for it.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!Matthew 7:7-11 NIV
Asking and Receiving What You Need isn’t Selfish
When you consider what you need, it might stir up feelings of shame. Am I worthy of being cared for? I’m so insignificant. Why would God bother to love me? My needs aren’t important. I have nothing to offer God in return. I’ve gone my whole life without my desires being met; why would anything change now? I don’t know what I need.
All of these thoughts can be summarized as “I doubt my needs will ever be met.” This belief can develop from years of disappointment. Then, it’s possible to “forget” what your needs are or that you even have them.
What if God asked you how you were doing? You might wonder if God really cares. You might think that He wants you to give a quick and cheerful response like “I’m totally blessed! I already have everything I could ever wish for.” Unless you are feeling completely content, it’s not an honest answer.
How can you become more aware of what you need?
What would feed your soul so that you have the energy to enjoy life and help others? What would be so awesome to have that it would seem unbelievable if God gave it to you? If you are struggling to answer questions like these, try some of the following:
- When you are angry, ask yourself what would help you feel calm.
- When you are sad, ask what you desire to feel happy.
- When you are afraid, ask what you are lacking or what would help you feel safe.
- How would you like to be celebrated?
- What is the best gift anyone could give you?
- When have you felt most loved?
For all of these, state your answer in terms of yourself, not other people. Don’t conclude, “I wouldn’t be angry if you didn’t yell at me.” Instead, try “I need to believe I am valuable.”
Then, the next step is to share your needs with the people in your life.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.