Worth the Hassle
I tend to shy away from neediness. Even when it’s someone I deeply love— like my kids or my husband— if they seem too needy, too “high maintenance” for some reason, I can feel myself pulling away.
If I’m honest, it’s because I see myself in their eyes— and the reality of my own neediness brings with it a sense of great shame.
You see, the truth is, I’m a mess. Although I value self-sufficiency and love to see independent, creative, intelligent go-getters “doing their thing” in the world… I often don’t feel like I’m one of them. Thus, I tend to feel indignantly embarrassed when I, once again, recognize that I am one of “the needy ones” in life.
Which, if I’m honest, is pretty much all the time.
A couple nights ago, my kids found a fledgling little crow, just barely starting to sprout real feathers through its downy fuzz, in the church parking lot. It squawked loudly, beak wide open begging for food, hobbling along laboriously on its clearly malformed legs. It had a little gash of some sort under one of its wings.
It had been rejected by its mother, kicked out of the nest because it wasn’t seen as viable.
Like how I often feel, this young bird was seen as “too much work” and was, thus, forsaken by its family of origin.
Seeing this disadvantaged, forgotten creature, I couldn’t help but remember these words penned by the ancient King David:
“Although my father and my mother have abandoned me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].” ~ Psalm 27:10 ~
To make a long story short, after several minutes of conversation, I finally gave in to my kids’ pleas and agreed to let them wrap the bird up in a towel, take it home, and attempt to nurse it to health.
I knew full well, and told them in no uncertain terms, that this little guy would likely not make it even a day. But, to them, it was worth a shot. They weren’t intimidated, burdened, or repulsed by its neediness. In fact, to them, tending to him was a joy and a privilege. They enjoyed spending hours researching how to care for wild crows, building a shelter for him, figuring out how to hand-feed him frequently throughout the day, and even giving him a name that means “wounded”. It has been remarkable to watch.
And then this afternoon, when we arrived home and found him breathing his last breaths, there wasn’t even a drop of regret in their tear-filled eyes. Even with death as the outcome of all their hard work, and sobs wracking their bodies, the truth was clear as day: They loved him and he was worth it all.
Something about this darn bird situation touches a tender place in my heart: it reminds me of my own vulnerability, my own fears of being burdensome, and, most especially, how important it is for me to be honest with God about it all.
A few weeks ago, in Bonnie Gray’s new book “Whispers of Rest”, she encouraged me to CONFIDE in God about all of my unspoken cares and anxieties– and even my long-forgotten dreams. “Honestly tell Jesus how you’re feeling,” she urged. “Be vulnerable [with Him] about your uncertainties. Ask for help.”
When I read those words, I was surprised at the first thought that went through my head: “Um… I don’t know if I’m ready to be that honest with God.” In truth, I was a little afraid of what all might come pouring out of me. I was afraid of discovering just how needy and messed up I really am.
“Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” ~ Psalm 62:8 ~
Now, look: I’m a big fan of vulnerability and transparency and being honest about sharing our struggles with one another. That’s pretty much what this blog is all about. But… also? I have dreams locked up inside my heart that I don’t even dare to dream anymore. There are things I am fearful of, or stressed or insecure about, that I have kept bottled up for years.
Despite all the soul-work I’ve done over the last several years, I don’t want to be seen— either by people or by God— as “needy” or burdensome in any way. Unfortunately, I am apparently still hiding in some ways and trying to give off a “Don’t worry about me, I’m super competent” vibe.
Here’s the thing: I want to be a giver, not a taker. I want to be life-giving, not annoying or draining. I want to have a heart of positivity and gratitude– not a worrisome or whining demeanor.
Which is all fine and dandy. Except that it’s just not possible all the time.
So here the what I’m rediscovering again: I can confide in the One who cares for me, the One who created me and knows it all any way. He can handle it. And He won’t push me away.
As Bonnie writes in her new devotional, “[God] is not turned off by your worries. He will not withdraw or turn aside. He’s drawing you closer to Him.”
“I will hold on to you with my right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10 ~
And so: Despite the fact that I’m a mess, despite the fact that it takes time and energy and resources to care for me, despite the fact that there are certain aspects of me that simply “are what they are”— God chooses me, loves me, wants what is best for me, and reaches for my hand, wanting to hold on to me no matter what I’m going through.
I am kind of like that silly little crow that my kids tended to for a few days: needy, yet wanted anyway.
God isn’t intimidated, burdened, or repulsed by my neediness. On the contrary, He calls me His “beloved”. He says He delights in me. He says He has inscribed me on His hands and that He will never forget me. He says I can cast my cares on Him and that He cares for me. He says He loves me and that He won’t let go when I need Him most.
I am worth the hassle.
And just so you know: so are you.
**If you would like to take some deep breaths, reconnect with God, and discover how beloved you are, I highly encourage you to snag your own copy of Bonnie Gray’s brand new book “Whispers of Rest.” It is a great tool to help you reconnect, in simple and profound ways, with God.
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What about you?
What cares, anxieties, or dreams have you been silently holding on to? Can you dare to be “needy” and confide in God about them, trusting that He genuinely cares and can handle it all?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.