It was three Easters ago that I was sitting in the Amsterdam airport on my way to adopt my son in Ethiopia. I was overwhelmed with the reality of my adoption by God as I flew through the clouds to adopt my own son. I was acutely aware of fresh starts and how God makes all things new. I was flying to my son. MY SON. My son, with all his mess. All his imperfection. All his beauty. All his need.
Need. Don't you just cringe sometimes at the word? Don't we just wish people would stop needing? Don't we wish at our very core that we could just stop being so in need ourselves? Why can't we just get ourselves together? Well, because we can't. We can't. Oh, we want to. We want to be able to put on a good face and present a solid front, and on our best days of pretending, we can. But don't we get tired of pretending? Isn't our reality that we indeed are in need? I feel it rise up within me so often... disgust that I can't just get my stuff together. Because, let's face it - we look around and so many people seem to have their stuff together. It makes us feel small. Unworthy. Guilty. Ashamed.
The reality is that the people who really have their stuff together are the people who have acknowledged that they don't.
It took me a while to truly get that. It took me an even longer while to be willing to recognize that all I really need is need. But man, that doesn't really seem to fly in our culture. It's all about strength and self-reliance and our own power and prestige. It's about what we can do for ourselves. What a dis-service we are doing to each other. Because at the end of the day, each one of us is somehow broken, hurting and so not together. We are putting on a face of "I'm better than okay" and for what? For what????
What if people were able to find a safe place to just lay all their junk out there - their hurts, their fears, their pain, their desires - and just be who they are? What if we all lived authentically? What if there was no more pretense? What if we didn't give a rip about what other people thought about us? Is this even possible, people????
I really, really, really want it to be. And I think it can. But what it takes is a people who are willing to be honest about their need. Can we do that? Can we suck it up and just put out there who we really are? Can I tell you that I have so loved to be needed my entire life because it gives me a sense of worth, that I have come close to completely ruining my family? Can I tell you that I don't even know how to have friends anymore because I don't trust myself to do it in a healthy way? Can I tell you that I feel like I'm starting over in my relationship with God at the age of 38 because I have believed lies about who He is and how He looks at me for most of my life? And can I tell you that just being able to say these words liberates me and sets me free?
We are a needy people. And if we don't think we are, then we aren't being honest with ourselves and each other. But I am learning... my need is a gift. It is what draws me into a real, authentic, messy relationship with God. It's what keeps me close to Him. I freaking need Him every second of the day and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Because He takes our need and He meets us in those deep, dark places and He says "I am enough". And you know what?? He really, really is.
And I think that as our Father, He must just hope that we can humble ourselves and share our real, deep, dark with the people around us. Because He's given us each other for a reason. And it's not so that we can put on fake smiles and convince everyone that we live perfect lives. It's so that we can be who we are, no matter what, and know that we are truly loved.
Because that is what you and I are... truly loved. No matter what.