Do you ever find yourself feeling deeply insecure about a basic need like being hungry or tired? You begin to wonder if you are the only one who gets a little cranky if you haven’t eaten in several hours. Maybe you need a quiet, dark space to help you sleep. You get anxious at the thought of going somewhere like a camping trip because you know you can’t sleep in that environment. If other people can do it, I should be able to also, right? Otherwise, I’m just being high maintenance and needy, right?
Our culture values being easygoing and adaptable and it is easy to beat ourselves up when we know we won’t fare well in certain situations. We don’t allow ourselves to admit our needs for fear of what others will think of us. We don’t want to appear weak or feeble because we have different necessities than they have.
We don’t realize that others are more similar to us than we think. They may also not be expressing their needs, or they just have different ones.
In moments when I am traveling with a group, I seem to experience these insecurities the most. I find that I tell myself that I don’t want to inconvenience the group in any way. I worry that I will slow down the trip. In reality, my fear is that the group will be annoyed with me or that they will think I am being high maintenance.
I start worrying that my friends will think I am needy or weak because my emotions and energy levels are affected if I don’t eat for a while. I believe the lie I am being easygoing by ignoring my needs when I am really afraid of my friends’ opinion of me.
I want others to see me as someone who can go with the flow and adapt easily. I believe lies that I am fragile and too high-maintenance if I start to feel hungry, tired, stressed, anxious, etc. If someone else isn’t experiencing the same need in that moment, I allow myself to believe that the way I feel is a flaw that others will judge. I allow myself to become miserable and eventually explode emotionally over something trivial because I refuse to ask someone for help. Fear of the opinions of others keeps me from being honest, and I start to believe the lies that I worried my friends would believe. It is a form of pride when we can’t express a basic need because of our fears that others will view us as weak.
Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” When I worry over what others will think, I trap myself into thinking the worst about myself. Everyone has needs, but it is easy to be convinced that I am the only one who has them. We are not being easygoing when we refuse to admit how we feel. God expects us to be vulnerable and to express what we need to each other whether it is nourishment, rest, emotional support, financial assistance, etc.
Psalm 139:13, 14 (ESV) tells us, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” God was intimately involved in creating each detail about us. He created us with needs that look different for each individual, and we can’t look down on ourselves just because we are more familiar with our own vulnerabilities than we are with the necessities of other people.
God created us to depend on each other. If I can’t tell my friends about my needs, I need better friends. Just as I don’t want my friends to suffer when I can easily help them, I should know that they wouldn’t want that for me either. It is okay to have needs and opinions as long as we don’t forget to look out for others as well. Instead, by expressing our needs, we give others freedom to be vulnerable with us about their needs which in turn helps us realize that we are normal after all.