Wanting to Be Wanted
Have you ever had the intense urge to be needed, to be wanted?
Do you ever long to be a:
The list goes on and on. There are times in my life where my need to be wanted was painful.
I have never felt so lonely as I did when I got married. Sounds pretty crazy right? I had a constant companion and devoted husband, but I was living in a strange town, without any of my friends or family around. I didn’t have a job, so no coworkers to befriend, no home church yet to get plugged into, nowhere that I really felt I belonged.
I was desperate for a friend. Picture this, if you will: A young lady roaming around Target with Starbucks in hand and nothing on a list to fill the empty cart, just browsing every aisle searching for someone to talk to. Yes, I did that. Every week. I was so desperate for a friend that I would go to different grocery stores, shops, and restaurants just hoping to meet someone that I could talk to and maybe exchange numbers with. I was definitely friend shopping looking for potential friend dates. It sounds pathetic, but I’ve never been one to do well without companionship. I love hard, and have always felt that I needed someone to bestow that love upon.
I found myself in a season of newlywed bliss, being miserable all the time while my husband, Byron, was at work. I befriended the staff at a local cafe, met some neighbors, and finally started to form some connections. However, I did not really like the version of myself that I was becoming. You see, I have a very likable husband, and everyone just loved him. Some neighbors knew him already, and they adored him. I felt like I had some serious catching up to do. One neighbor actually told me that they liked me, but loved him… yeah, that was a fun day. Gotta’ love some people. I then started to try to tell this person every fault he had to make myself look better and more desirable as a potential friend. Cause that’s always a good idea (insert eye roll).
I decided to become a social drinker, buy more trendy clothes, say a curse word every now and then to fit in with the people I was meeting. A mess. I was getting so much farther from my true self, that I became disgusted with myself and went through a hermit-like phase. This wasn’t the only time in my life where I did this. Just as Beth said, “I wanted to be wanted so badly that I’d adhere myself to people I didn’t even like as long as they liked me.” I did this in friendships and dating relationships in my past that led to so much heartache. “Thank God, He looks on the heart, seeing straight through our pretense to our pain… My whole life was a bloody fight for wanting things that can’t coexist.” I love that Beth gets this. It took me a while.
The long and short version of it is, our wants can be really messed up. And, if they are, our lives will be really messed up because we humans, except in matters of survival, are driven most by what we desire. We can want things desperately, clawing and clamoring, that we know have the capacity to destroy us. The gratification of desire is so strong that we, with eyes wide open, are willing to satisfy it today even if we dearly pay for it ten thousand tomorrows.
I was so excited when we got plugged in at Crossroads Church and I was welcomed into the women’s ministry. I had women that I didn’t have to pretend around. I didn’t have to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t have to air out my husband’s faults to find a topic of conversation over some husband bashing. I could talk about my marriage and the joys of my marriage, Jesus, my desire to be in women’s ministry, to serve, and later about my children. It was AMAZING! God answered my prayers through these women to have that Godly companionship that I so desired. I made neighbor friends and met coworkers that I could share my true self and common faith with as well.
That season brought so much pain and self-protecting, but also a deeper level to my faith. I only had God and my husband during that time, and Jesus showed up in a big way. He became my constant companion, and that was more fulfilling than anything else. Beth says it so beautifully in this chapter (9), “There in His presence, we get to be ourselves, not just behave ourselves. We’re not bound and gagged. We’re loosed and heard.” The presence of God, the intimacy I have with him, is the most freeing and exhilarating experience of my life.
“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4
“The fact that Jesus was willing to show up in beauty where we’d surrendered to duty is a testament to His jaw-dropping grace.”