A while back I wrote a blog It’s not about you or is it? Before we can turn our attention to loving others, we must first accept who we are, recognize our needs, and choose to allow God to meet our needs.
Two key parts of this process are:
- Identifying faulty coping mechanisms or ways we have tried to meet these needs in the past.
- Replacing these coping mechanisms with constructive habits that will make way for God to move in our lives and meet our needs.
Reminder: We all have needs.
Everyone has a need for food, shelter, but we also have needs that are in some ways deeper, needs for love and affection, a sense of identity and value, and belonging.
And we all have developed habits—or ways of coping—in order to meet those needs. With some of these habits, we rely on ourselves. With others, we expect other people to meet our needs. Here are a few examples of coping mechanisms:
- Grabbing what you can when you can: attention, love, stuff. Focusing on what you want, and not what god says you need. Calling wants needs.
- Controlling things around you so that you can be comfortable and secure: our environment, relationships, and living by a rigid structure.
- Denying that you have needs.
- Escaping life by immersing yourself in TV, gaming, social media, alcohol or other means of escape.
- Floating along, refusing to take responsibility for your life, your actions, or–even more telling—your inaction.
- Expecting others to meet your needs. Relying on other people to make you happy. Assuming that anyone and everyone else’s job is to make you happy.
- Assuming that your own happiness, comfort, and success is more important than someone else’s’, or that their happiness is more important than yours.
Replace these coping mechanisms. Living a life guided by God is living a life increasingly free of the faulty habits we have so carefully cultivated. In Psalm 139 David prays:
Search me Oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139: 23-24
Here are a few of God’s ways that can replace our coping mechanisms:
- Giving. Keep what you will use, and give the rest away.
- Letting go. Learning to rely on God to meet your needs and not yourself. The secret of being content in every situation, whether you have much or little.
- Accepting your needs, and the importance that they are met.
- Facing life, including its hard parts, knowing that you are not alone: God is with you and within you.
- Owning your life. Quit playing the victim and accept responsibility, and that your decisions, as well as your indecisions, have consequences.
- Releasing expectations. Hope in God, not people. God is the meeter of your needs, not other people. Sometimes He uses people, sometimes He doesn’t. But He often meets your needs in ways you don’t expect.
- Recognizing that you are important, and everyone else is, too. Life isn’t a competition, it’s a collaboration.
Our needs are 100% met by Christ. Because of Him, we don’t have to hide, or hang on to anything or any person.
There is enough. There is more than enough. Our cup overflows.
And my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
Once we accept the truth of God’s provision, we can take our eyes off ourselves and give as God would have us give–live as God would have us live.
Share with us: What are you doing to overcome your unhealthy coping mechanisms? How are you making room to let God in?