Shelly loved to reach out to others. She had a heart of compassion for those in need. She rarely thought of herself as needy.
No one likes to think of herself as needy. We prefer other adjectives for ourselves, words that reflect strength or wisdom. As mentors we stand ready to help and to share from our strength and wisdom. We often see those who come to us as the needy ones. We don’t care to have “needy” beside our own name, yet we all wear that tag.
Just for a moment think about your own needs. It’s easier to think of someone else and how you can help them. But can you identify where you are needy? We can see the needs of others clearly, but can be blind to our own.
There is a tool we can use to help us see our own need. Once you have the tool in your hand you will actually be surprised that it works so well. The tool is paying attention to any conflict in your life. Conflict often reflects our unmet needs.
Think about it for a moment. Recall the last encounter you had with conflict. Most of us don’t have to dig very far into our memories. Sometimes the unmet need is basic and easy to remedy such as the need for sleep.
But often it is much deeper. The need to feel valued and heard or the need to be accepted or respected can cause conflict from a wounded heart. Control and manipulation can stem from an angry heart, rooted in a need to forgive others or oneself.
We all have ashes in our lives. A wise friend of mine has said, “Listen for the ashes in peoples lives and then pray into them.” Ashes exist where hope has burned up and need remains. Think about where conflict exists in your life and ask God to help you identify any unmet need, whether yours or someone else’s, that may exist at the root of it. Begin to pray into those needs.
The deep needs of our heart can only be adequately met by God. He is the one who promised to bring “beauty out of ashes” (Isaiah 61:3).
When you see potential conflict lurking on your horizon…stop… and use the opportunity as a tool to build into your own life or to pray into another’s. Look honestly at yourself. Grow from it in these four ways:
- Give God the opportunity to reveal to your heart any unmet need that may be at the root of this conflict. Be open to seeing your own need and be open to praying into the needs of another. It will help dissolve hostility too.
- Recognize that God is the only One who can meet all of your needs.
- Open your heart to God’s help, asking Him to be the Source you need for that unmet need in your life. Bring another Christian alongside who can pray for you in this as you move toward God’s healing and finding “beauty from ashes.”
- Walk beside another in prayer as you pray for their unmet needs. They may not be open to you but you can pray into their life, asking God to be their Source in meeting the needs of their soul.
God invites us to ask for His help in our needs. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
God promises to be the Source for all of our unmet needs. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
As we seek God in our conflicts and allow Him to reveal where we are needy, He will supply what we need and we will be equipped, in greater ways, to extend our hands to the needy in our pathway.
Allow Him to GROW you in and through the deep needs of your heart.