Who Needs You, Baby?

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I can remember sitting in a psychology class my freshman year of college and learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.  I was so struck that humans needed food clothing shelter (of course) and then- BELONGING (really?).  It seemed like such a high and lofty abstract need compared to the others.  Maybe my INTJ personality, or extreme introversion –indeed even social anxiety–  caused me to shudder at the thought.  “Belonging… that’s for needy people.”  

I guess this thought came from my naiveté and also the fact I had been raised within a family that gave me a very healthy sense of belonging- so much so I didn’t recognize the need.  (Thanks parents!)

But wow– do we humans need it.  For some, in extreme cases, the need for belonging can actually become stronger than the need for basic safety- such as a child clinging to an abusive adult.

I noticed a drawing done by my 6 year old recently:

IMG_0585-1Wow… what an expression of a basic need.  It broke my heart.  “Who are THEY?”  “Do THEY know what they are missing?!”  “Why wouldn’t THEY want to play with such a precious girl?”

We have all been there.  To feel a PART of something, to be loved, admired, understood and heard brings life, meaning, purpose.  To feel alone, unloved, not respected, misunderstood or ignored brings death, meaninglessness, aimlessness.

My girls (ages 6 & 8) have lots of commentary about being left out.  I tell them the same thing I tell myself.  “You be the one to reach out.  You be the one to include.  The best way to have a friend is to be one.”

If there is one need I have discovered in almost everyone I talk with, this is it.  Belonging.  My own sense of belonging has been quite shaken since January 2018.  Who knew it would be so important… just above food, clothing, and shelter, right?

Friends, I am finding my way again; and the good news is, “Whether we live or die, we belong to God.”  (Romans 14:8)

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Good Things are Going to Happen

I am in a new and completely foreign season of life. Or maybe you could call it death.  I began doing ministry as a “job” when I was only 20 years old in 1995.    And now for the first time in 20 years I am not doing that.

In all my newfound freedom, I was out in my yard “dead heading” my coreopsis (see pic below).  I noticed that right here all in one spot, you have flowers in full bloom, others- brown and ready to fall to the ground, and still others which are budding and about to open up.

I started cutting the brown heads with  pair of tiny pruning scissors, thinking I could move faster.  I accidentally cut off some of the “good ones” as well.  I felt bad about this and decided to go back to old school style, pulling the heads off with my hand.  It was actually faster and more accurate than the scissors.

As I pulled off the old, I said to myself “pruning is important, but in the wrong hands or in our haste, we can remove something we shouldn’t, before its time.”  And I realized that’s how I felt.  Someone or something pulled me up and removed me and I wasn’t ready yet.   I felt anger, betrayal, sadness.

But as I continued to work ,I was gently reminded that regardless of what I had experienced, the gardener is the true pruner, removing only what i necessary, and for the benefit of the whole plant.  Instead of being angry and feeling “cut off”  healing began to come as I realized that maybe this was indeed a time for me to submit, to fall into the hands of the gardener, to be allowed to fall to the ground… to die… to rest.

The benefit of this whole plant does not DEPEND on me.  I am one of many.  There are others all around me in full bloom.  There are those coming behind me who are ready to burst onto the scene.  But for me for now, I fall to the ground.  I lie fallow.  I wait.  Because this is not the end.  There is a new time coming for me, but without this season of death, I will never experience the new life that springs forth.

“Science has found that nothing disappears without a trace.  Nature does not know extinction.  All it knows is transformation.”  –Wernher von Braun

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24 I tell you the truth, a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed. 25 Those who love their lives will lose them, but those who hate their lives in this world will keep true life forever.”  -John 12:24-25 NCV