I had a nice Mothers’ Day. But it wasn’t perfect. My husband is good about realizing I have expectations that don’t naturally occur to him. So he usually asks me what I need on a given day to have my needs and desires met. I told him what was important to me, and he was glad to give me what I needed. He loved and affirmed me and all I do for our boys. That was meaningful. Yet, at the end of the day, it didn’t meet my deepest needs for affirmation.
I have learned with time and maturity that, generally speaking, I have a black hole of need in my heart. At holidays, on date nights, on vacation, with my husband, with my children, with extended family, with friends. I have needs beyond anyone’s earthly ability to fulfill.
Holidays, birthdays, and so forth can have the exact opposite of their intention (a special day to recognize someone) if our expectations of the day are too high. Expect or need nothing from the day, and everything else will be a blessing. That’s great advice, but how do you get to that place? How do you expect or need nothing from someone?
Many years ago, I heard Beth Moore say something along the lines that the Spirit is the one to fill us to the very top. He is the sustenance, and everything else is only sprinkles on top. You can’t live without sustenance. But sprinkles you can. If you get sprinkles and sustenance backwards, you’ll never be satisfied. Envision yourself trying to fill up on sprinkles from a shaker meant to decorate cupcakes. That’s us when we look to people or days to meet needs in us that are black holes only filled by an eternal, supernatural God.
I’ve thought lately how my husband’s love is like a fine glass of wine. It’s an enjoyable blessing when I am fully sated after a meal of steak. But if I’m starving, wine can’t provide the sustenance I need. Mother’s Day this year didn’t meet my deepest need for affirmation, but I was able to receive from my family what they imperfectly gave me. That is a sweet gift of God’s grace. He supernaturally meets me in my deepest longings, and then, and only then, can I fully enjoy the secondary blessings from my family.
I shared this with another friend, and she responded, “That’s the essence right there – to be able to receive from our family and friends what they imperfectly give us knowing it won’t meet our deepest needs for affirmation, but we know the One who will.” It’s amazing to me how wonderful the blessings, the sprinkles if you will, have turned out to be once I stopped grasping for them in an effort to get them to meet such deep seated needs in my heart.
I never tire of reading Psalms 73’s answer for this deep, very real longing in our hearts.
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
… 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. …
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.