Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wants and needs

There is a substantial difference between things in our lives that we want and things that we need. We may think that we "need" something, but in actual fact what we truly need can be something else entirely.

I have been challenged on this a lot over the past few weeks. Over the last few months I have been reading passages from the Word For Today (A Christian daily devotional book) talking about a change in times and seasons which I felt spoke to me that change of sorts was on the horizon for me. I've also had friends speak over my life saying the same thing. In my heart, I agreed with what they said and I began to imagine what I thought this change that may be coming into my life might look like.

I had a few different ideas as to what I thought I "needed" this change to be. I never for a second imagined that the change that was heading my way involved having a complete nervous breakdown, having to resign from my job as a result and go on the sickness benefit to support myself financially. This certainly was not the change that I was hoping for, or "wanted". There were times when I found myself very angry at the changes that had taken place and wished I had done something to prevent them.

However, as time has passed over this last 5 weeks or so that I have been off work, I've come to realize that as hard as this has been, this has been the change that I have really "needed" as I have gained some amazing insight into things I have struggled with for years and as a result I am feeling much freer and stronger within myself than I ever have before. I can honestly say that the changes that have come into my life that I initially didn't "want" have become the best thing that has ever happened to me in my 27 and a half years on this planet.

It has been extremely difficult to face this and it has tested me to the very core of my being, which has been very painful - but as I have begun to realize - what is the alternative? I have gained insight into deep and powerful tensions that have kept me as an internal prisoner for my entire life which I would never have gained if none of this had ever happened to me. Sure, I could have received my "wants" and had a nice easy ride, continuing to skim over the surface of what was happening deep within my own heart - but the alternative would have been that the unresolved issues would slowly have gnawed away at me from the inside out and worn out my ability to truly appreciate and enjoy the good things that I know are headed for me in the future. My "wants" could easily have destroyed me. Fortunately, God ignored my wants and focused on what I truly needed in my life.

I shudder when I look back on my life and think of all the things I have "wanted" over the years and have become very angry at God, others and myself when I have not received. I realize now that if all of my "wants" had been met, I would not be the person I am today and I certainly would not be coming into the place of strength and clarity I am slowly approaching at the moment. It has been a very hard road at times - especially recently - but the alternative, though it looks smoother and happier, would have left me in a far worse state than what I am in now.

It can be a very difficult place to be in when you look around at the lives of those around you and especially at how the world values "success" these days. It's all about having the fastest car, the biggest house, the largest salary and so on. I wanted to live a life like this and I have found it incredibly frustrating at times to be living in what appears to be a great sense of poverty while others appear to have things so much easier just because they have material wealth and high paying jobs. It can seem like it's a waste of time being where you are. But let me ask you this - how many of those people use their possessions to compensate for a lack of emotional strength and character in their lives, and would be reduced to nothing if they lost everything they had "wanted"? That's a very shallow way to live life and a very unstable foundation to base everything on.

When push comes to shove, you see what you're made of. And although it's hard, I am being strengthened in the core of my inner man. So when push inevitably comes to shove in my future, I will be stronger than ever when it comes to dealing with it, because of this time I am going through at the moment where my "wants" have been put aside by God because He cares enough to give me what I truly need.

Take care.

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