How many times a day do we say the word “need”?
I need a new pair of pants. I need to eat some chocolate. I need to redecorate my apartment…. All things I’ve said in the last few days, and I could probably keep going if you give me long enough. Isn’t it interesting how the word need is so freely used in our excessive, wealthy society? Marketing tactics nowadays are all about convincing you that you need their product. I know recently I’ve thrown out the ‘need’ statement pertaining to updating my work wardrobe, and usually the listener just nods their head in agreement. We are a society that has mistaken our “wants” with the word need.
The first few months of my 7 experiment have really allowed me to unpack this idea of need vs. want. I’ve touched on it before, but I really feel like I’m in a constant state of needing reminders. There are things I want, but I need nothing. I have clothes to wear, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a car to get me places. The only thing I need to do is to stop using the word need out of context. God has promised me that He will provide for everything I need.
Most of you reading this post are probably like me. If you get down to the basic necessities of life, you need nothing. God has provided everything to keep you going. You probably have wants, but your needs are met. A few of you reading this may have some real needs going on in your life, some areas that you need God to really work a miracle. I’ve had moments in my life of real need, but for the most part I’ve lived my life where my basic needs were always met.
Friends, it’s time to start erasing the word need from our vocabulary. Because when we convince ourselves that we need certain things that are simply items to add to our excess, it’s easier to ignore the true deep needs of the people around us. There are people in our neighborhoods, across town and around the world who are in desperate need to basic necessities. There are refugees coming into our country who literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs. There are mothers in Guatemala and Somalia who are watching their children starve because they have no way to feed their babies. There are people in your neighborhood who are struggling to buy groceries every week. The disheveled man who appears homeless may desperately need for someone to just make eye contact or buy him a meal.
My childhood pastor, Johnny Hunt, said once “You become a neighbor when you meet a need.” When we erase our perception of need, we can begin to truly erase the needs of the people around us. We can practice intentional neighboring where we are not just exchanging pleasantries but are entering into community with the people God placed next to us. When we erase our perception of need, we can allow our hearts to be more open to the painful stories of our brothers and sisters around the world.
My plan is to practice defining my wants as what they truly are: wants. It’s normal to want things, but I am going to stop calling them needs and am going to practice contentment (another post for another day)
I’m blessed beyond measure and my God has done exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine. I ultmately want to be used by Him to meet the needs of others. I’m a materialistic, selfish mess sometimes, but I’m allowing my heart to be molded and changed so I can but the needs of others ahead of my own selfish wants.