What are the most difficult words for you to say? These are the most difficult words to stumble out of my mouth:
“I need you.”
There are a few reasons for this.
1. Telling someone that I need them or I need something from them means that I am deficient in an area. And by that I mean, it is admitting that I’m not perfect. (As if they didn’t know.)
2. They might not give me what I need. So I am afraid that if I tell someone I need them, or I need something from them, they might not believe I am worth sharing with them.
3. It takes humility to ask. I struggle with pride, so telling someone I need them goes against me being “self-sufficient, independent, strong, and capable of doing all things on my own.”
4. They might not give me what I want. They might give me what I need.
I believe 1-3 are simple enough to understand without going deeper into them. Because of that, I will focus on challenge number 4 in relation to saying the words, “I need you.”
When you say, “I need you”, someone might respond with, “What do you need from me?” If they respond with those words, then what is your answer? Let’s say you feel like you need them to build you up, and to tell you that you can go get it done. They know you well enough that they won’t put up with the fluff phrases you say you want, because what you need is for them to say, “Take it up a notch. Stop making excuses.”
Or they might even take it to a more difficult place. They might just ask you, “What do you want?” And then, you would have to answer that question. And they might dig down deep. They might find out what’s holding you back from getting what you want. And why is it that you keep going into the same self-defeating behaviors again and again as opposed to going after what you want.
Eventually, the two of you might dig deeply enough that you might be honest enough to say, “I’m scared to death of getting what I want because I don’t know what in the world I would do with ________.” (And you get to fill in the blank.)
Authentic friendship demands that I be authentic with myself. Which means that some days, I may not get as much done as I would have planned because I needed to be real with myself and others as to why I wasn’t really living out of a passionate, focused place. I might have to do some hard work on myself that I might not want to do.
Saying the words, “I need you” or “I need something from you” means that you are reaching out to someone else. You are humbling yourself enough to receive something from them.
Now, can I have your permission to be candid with you? If so, read on. Look, it is key for you to come humbly to God and tell God that you need God. That you need something from God. That you need a burden lifted, that you need your purity restored, that you need your eyes lifted to hope in the future. However, that is not enough.
“Wait, David, are you saying God isn’t enough?”
Nope. God is enough for your redemption, your restoration, your hope, your faith, your soul. God is enough for you. But God did not design your life to be lived in a disconnected existence from other human beings. He did not design me to live like that. I noticed this weekend that I was withdrawing from my friends, my success group, from my family in my heart and then in my actions. As I withdrew from them instead of reaching out to them, tapes ran through my head on how “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t matter”, “Today doesn’t matter” and “Nobody cares.”
Did I reach out? No. And that was selfish of me to do so. It was selfish of me to stay isolated. It was selfish of me to withdraw and reach out for nothing from those who know me. Why did I do it? Because it was safe, familiar, and I didn’t have to deal with what I was feeling right then.
Now, this is something that I am working through. Honestly, it is really difficult. I didn’t grow up talking about how I felt. When I was off, I usually suppressed stuff until it came out in anger or tears. Sometimes it was a mixture of the two. So I created an island to live on while I lived with my family or roommates. I am learning how to do something different, but it is difficult to change. When I withdraw, I become unapproachable, stubborn, and quite toxic for others to be around. This is not how God created me to live. (I also want to point out that I am not talking about stepping back from everything and everyone to evaluate my life. I am talking about stewing on my frustrations, and allowing sin to fester in my heart because I am too apathetic about God or myself in those moments to change.) So withdrawing really doesn’t seem to be the answer. Ignoring the problem doesn’t seem to be the answer.
The one thing that I have learned to do, and I am sometimes successful in doing is facing the problem head on, and stepping into it. So I asked my friends in my success group last night if anyone could talk today. I got to talk with my friend Shelby, and she gave me some really good medicine. Some of the things were nice to hear, and some were really challenging. But even when I didn’t necessarily like what I heard in direction to me, I stayed in the conversation, and received something because of it.
I received energy, clarity, wisdom, and greater friendship. When I decide I don’t want to have walls, I am actually able to share with people better, because I am communicating from a more human place instead of an arrogant place. This creates more authentic friendship.
That conversation prompted a few thoughts that I want you to think on. Actually, I’d like for you to feel your way through these as well as think your way through them. So here we go.
What would you like to receive? Who would you like to receive it from? Why them? What can they give you? What would it feel like to receive something from them? Will you ask someone today instead of putting it off? Here are the magic words: “I need you.”