Little Bobby eagerly awaits his Mother’s hug and thankful words after handing her a dandelion from the yard. Little Amy anxiously searches her Father’s face for approval following the presentation of her latest stick-family art. When the flower is placed in a vase on the dining room table and the drawing is given a prominent position in Daddy’s office, the children’s joy is made complete and overflowing. The children feel good about themselves. The pleasure they perceive from others, because of something they did, provides them with a pleasure of their own.
Everyone, no matter what part of the planet they are from, understands the dynamics in this simple story. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, new revelation. What appears to be a little less common, however, is an understanding that these feelings and tendencies never change. No matter how often we deny it, or how many times we share the “nobody is going to affect me” memes on social media, the truth is, we all continue to look for our value and worth through our relationships with others.
Some measure their worth by the amount of money they make, others by the power and authority they wield. Many look for personal worth in romantic endeavors. The problem with all of these attempts to meet our fundamental human need to be wanted and needed is that invariably hard times come when money fails, jobs are lost, and relationships slip away.
When – often through tragedy or loss – people recognize the temporal nature of all things worldly, some attempt to make themselves believe that they do not need anyone – that they are self-sufficient. But closing their hearts does not eliminate the pain, it only drives it deep where it is no longer recognized for what it is. It is quickly covered over by self-destructive and undermining behaviors.
Others collapse into despair. They feel and believe that the hole in their heart will never be filled. With each attempt to connect with someone or reach for their life goals, these people often unconsciously sabotage themselves. This further reinforces their belief that they can never have their dreams.
The good news is that we can have the desires of our heart. Before that can happen, however, we must be honest with ourselves that we want them. We must also recognize that what we think we want and what we really want are sometimes subtly different. For example, some people move from physical relationship to physical relationship looking for fulfillment only to discover that the “buzz” always wears off over time. In truth, they are looking for a deep and abiding relationship that transcends the physical, but each additional relationship makes the real need more and more allusive.
We were created for relationship. God made Adam to walk with Him in the garden. God also knew that man needed someone on his own level to connect with, God took part of Adam to create Eve and designed marriage so that the two parts could come back together in complete and creative unity – all with His smiling approval. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Psalm 37:4 teaches, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Our deepest desires are neither evil nor unachievable, we just have to get things in the right order. God then… I’m sure you can fill in the blank.