Humans are such needy creatures. We spend our entire lives fighting with each other so that someone else will tell us that we’re important, that we’re needed, that we’re valuable, that we’re the best. It’s as if we have no idea who we are or why we’re here but we still need to be reassured that our existence matters, that we matter. When other people don’t appropriately affirm us, we get offended. How could they not see how important we are? We set about proving to everyone that we are valuable in many ways. Some people acquire things, some acquire knowledge or position. Some need others to be dependent on them and some pretend like they need no one.
All of these things are able to give momentary affirmation, but when the moment fades we’re back at square one, needing someone else to tell us who we are. We want to feel wanted. We want to feel appreciated. We want to feel loved. But we can’t create those feelings by ourselves; these feelings only exist in relationship. So, we set about trying to have community, trying to have relationship, trying to find our identities. Sadly, all we seem to find are cheap substitutes. Our shallowness has caused us to ration out affection and devotion, replacing things meant to be unconditional with “ifs” and “buts.”
“If you really loved me you’d have sex with me.” “I’ll be friends with you, but only if you do this for me.” “Don’t expect me to talk to her, she hasn’t called in three weeks!” The list could go on endlessly. Somehow we’ve taken things that by their very nature belong to others and made them about us. Any rejection or affront is personal, from a refusal of a date to being cut off while driving. It threatens our personhood and our identity. We have a fear, sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious, that we’re not good enough and that we never will be. We cave to the demands of others because of what they might think if we said “No.” We are constantly afraid that someone, somewhere, is not going to see us the way we think they should. They might perhaps get a glimpse of something they don’t like and proclaim us “not good enough” by an action, a glance, or a word.
A friend made this statement:
“I am so scared I’m going to forever be good enough to f*ck
But never good enough to love.” – Beautiful
I signed her name as “Beautiful” because she is. Not because of her appearance or her brains, though to the naked eye they might be appealing, but because she is a creation of the Almighty God. To call her anything less would be to lie and indeed, this cannot even come close to doing her justice. Her statement embodies one of the most deep-seated human fears – that of being only a stepping stone in another person’s need for affirmation. You may think me wrong for having posted her words (one word, in particular). I cannot apologize. Sex is one of the most intimate things two persons can share. It is also one of the things that can make a person feel most used. There is perhaps no other action that can cause such a range of emotion and consequence.
I could reword it, though, for palatability’s sake. “I am so scared that I am forever going to be good enough to use, but never good enough to keep.” It is a terrible thing to realize that you are the victim of someone else’s need. What can be done about this? How can we take our conditional expressions of love and make them unconditional? How can we find affirmation and worth in such a broken system, made such by us, the broken? Can we ever expect wholeness and unity with humanity?
It is almost like we are children lost in a big store. Our parent had just been close, and we were safe, secure, and happy. But now we’re lost, seemingly very small and insignificant, insecure because we feel alone. Donald Miller writes, “How terrible it must feel, no longer feeling God, the ache of emptiness and the sudden and horrifying awareness of self.” We were wired for someone else to tell us who we are. We were created to not be able to function without being connected to someone else. That someone, of course, is God. Tragically, that wire has been broken. We’re just scared children, lost in a store, running around trying somehow to convince all the other scared children that we’re not as desolate and neglected as we feel, that our “parent” hasn’t forgotten us, and that we know exactly which aisle we’re on.
There is a chance, a little glimmer of hope for us lost children. Jesus has repaired the connection between God and man. If we would only take the step up to the outlet and plug in, we could experience wholeness, oneness, love, and devotion, all without cost, all without fear of rejection. We no longer have to prove to the world that our “parent” hasn’t forgotten us, because He will be standing right next to us, holding our hands. 1 John 3:1 excitedly tells us “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” We no longer need to struggle with insecurities. We are children of the Most High, heirs to the universe, and loved and cared for by the Creator and Savior of all.
When we are plugged in, when we are told by God who we are, we no longer have to ration out love and affirmation to others. The storehouses of God are full of these things. We can always get more. We can love and love freely, because love is infinite. God is infinite and God is love. We have an infinite supply flowing to us. Sparing a bit of it for someone else is easy when we’re no longer afraid we’re going to run out. We can be patient, kind, without envy, never boastful, never proud, never rude, never self-seeking, and never easily angered. We can keep no record of wrongs done to us and never wish evil on others. We can always protect and trust others, hope and persevere. Before 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is, chapter 12 speaks in an often overlooked verse. It reads, “And now I will show you the most excellent way” (verse 31). We can live constantly in the most excellent way – love.
This love, this beautiful, wild, indescribable love can be ours. We can know who we are. Instead of something miserable or angry or sad, we can say with Emily Logan Decens, “Happiness pulses with every beat of my heart.” And it will be an infinite happiness based on an infinite love that we can infinitely share with everyone we come in contact with because it will never run out.
Because God never runs out.