I was watching a parenting video today where the teacher explained the value of asking your kids, “What do you need?” The stress in our reactions to each other are expressions of unmet needs. I immediately realized that it does NOT matter if I ask my kids that question when I am not sure how to ask my self that question.
Most of my life, I have been under the guiding principle that I will not receive what I need. Therefore it is my purpose to figure out how to live denying my need. And that is what I have done.
Need safety? Not available, so don’t trust.
Need help? Don’t ask, everyone has ulterior motives.
Need to be heard? No one is really listening.
What a shift to understand my needs are God-breathed and worthy. This is not simplistic thinking that I will always receive everything I need. Of course not. Our lives do not afford that. But it is a mature belief to recognize my needs are real.
And worthy of being met.
I wish this maturity was already bed-rock solid in my heart so I could give it away to my kids. But it’s not. I have to live in the mess of learning what it is to be me while trying to teach them to ask for what they need.
I could tell you a thousand ways I have failed. I could also tell you a thousand ways I have not given up and so have succeeded.
What do I need right now at 4:20pm on a Monday?
A Lights Out Stout (thank you Worthy Brewing) and to wrestle with my mind and tapping-key fingers. To ask, “What do I need?” while inviting those I love to ask themselves the same question.
It also means that sometimes I need something others can’t give and vice versa.
May we live in that tension with love.
It means that my 7-year-old wanted me to take him to the pool but I paid his big brother to do it. I needed to sit on the patio, drink my beer, and wrestle with words.
I hear your response, or maybe I hear my own response, “You are a selfish, beer-drinking-it’s-not-even-5pm mother who thinks she is more important that her kids.”
As we acknowledge our need, we are vulnerable to other people’s perception. Or the contempt of thinking we are selfish. But the reality that we cannot give one single thing we don’t possess keeps me from believing that no matter what my sneaky inner voice says.
I want with all my heart to ask those I love, “What do you need?” with the desire to meet them there. And I cannot move nearer to that without embracing my own need.
Monday at 4:28pm.
I need a community of friends. I need God to show up loud and big. I need kindness. I need direction. I need to be understood. I need kick-ass adventure. I need playfulness and big dreams. I need to know my life has an impact on others for GOOD.
I bless every need I have AND I refuse to punish those I love when they are unable to offer a loving response to my needs. Instead, I will live in the tension of belief that we are all worthy of receiving what we need, whether we receive it or not. The craft of living with hope is to be brave enough to ask again.
May we learn to articulate our needs with artful precision.