So much of the time, I feel overwhelmed by life. It’s a powerful river dragging me downstream, moving me in directions that I can’t predict, can’t control. It occasionally yanks me under by the ankle—cold, muddy water rushing into my mouth and nose, choking me, causing me to sputter and spit when I finally manage to break the surface again. My eyes sting and my lungs burn and I am afraid.
Afraid of so many things. Afraid not just that I will eventually be completely overwhelmed, but that I am overwhelming. That if I were to reach down inside, I would find it painfully empty and hard, like scraping fingertips roughly across cement. Afraid that the cavernous hole inside me will never be filled, that trying will just exhaust me…and others too. Silently, desperately, I beg, “Pour into me!” but I cannot put words to this, cannot risk being too vulnerable, too selfish. Because I worry that if I let myself need, it will grow and twist into neediness—pathetic, burdensome neediness.
Always, always the question pounding drum-like in the back of my mind, stealing my courage: What if I am not enough…or too much…or both?
So I say nothing, ask for nothing. I will stay small, un-needing.
But God clearly calls the Christian to something different:
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9) and “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)
Admitting that we need—whether it’s an emotional, physical or spiritual need—is undeniably hard. It is never without risk since we can’t control whether people will judge, reject, or love us. So we often prefer to stay overwhelmed, isolated, depressed. Fear and pride wrap themselves around our hearts, convincing us that we should hide, that hiding will keep us safe.
But if we are to become the people God intended for us to be, we must come out of hiding. This demands the laying-aside of pride. It means exposing our vulnerabilities and trusting another person with them. But really, ultimately, it is trusting in God. Because He is the one whose love never falters, never fails.