For those of you who have children, particularly young children, you know that one of the primary responsibilities of a parent is to ensure that the needs of your child are being met. That includes all of Maslow’s hierarchy. As a child matures, it becomes less and less our responsibility to meet the needs of that child. In fact, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to meet their own needs. I would go so far as to say when parents fail to teach their children how to meet their own needs they are failing in their responsibility towards their children. In many ways the parental role is reflective of the God role in our lives. I am going to write specifically in regards to our emotional needs that exist in every human being because what we do with those needs and how we ensure they are being met has great affect on our lives and relationships.
Your needs are holy!
But as an adult, they are no one else’s responsibility but your own. When we attempt to have our needs met by another, we with seemingly honest and vulnerable intention, burden the other person with that which is not their responsibility. In many relationships people decide that their partner, lover, spouse or friend are responsible to meet their needs. When we attempt to give someone else our needs they are offered a burden they cannot carry for long.
Were God to respond to our demands in regard to our needs He would create tyrants with God delusions believing others exist to fulfill their needs. Yet, your needs are holy and they should be met. But the “how” and the “who” of our attempts in meeting those needs really does determine our orientation toward life and others. Now this is not to say that in relationships people have no responsibility towards one another, and it is very possible to be neglectful or self absorbed; what I am saying though is that how people behave towards us does not determine whether or not we can have our needs met.
No person can cure the unsettled heart or mind in another. Only God has such power in that God is not burdened or moved to meet our demands. Rather, God offers us love that meets all our needs. God’s love is an invitation – always and forever calling to be heard, seen and received on love’s terms, not ours.
The power to receive Love’s invitation resides solely within us and how I respond to that invitation is solely my responsibility. On some levels this is the art of detachment or letting go and trusting that God will – in God’s way – meet all of our needs. Martin Luther had a saying, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
The question for today is, “Where are you looking to have your needs met?” It reminds me of a great old SNL skit with Eddie Murphy back in the 80’s where he was playing Buckwheat, and he sang a song “wookin pa nub in all da wong paces” (watch it here for a good laugh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jsk1A0tsSc).
But the saying is true, if we are looking for our needs to be met, we do have to discern whether or not we are looking in all the wrong places. Are we demanding of another? Or are we opening our eyes to the love of God that is offered in every moment that meets our needs and creates in us a love for others that is a gift and not a demand? I, in no way, imply that this is an easy process and we all fall short in this regard at times. But this is the path of maturing and peace.