“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
–Matthew 5:3

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 4:19

When we ask we are owning our needs. Asking for love, comfort or understanding is a transaction between two people. You are saying: I have a need. It’s not your problem. It’s not your responsibility. You don’t have to respond, but I’d like something from you. This frees the other person to connect with you freely and without obligation. When we own that our needs are our responsibility we allow others to love us because we have something to offer. Asking is a far cry from demanding. When we demand love, we destroy it.
–Henry Cloud

God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am. Because of this I don’t need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him. I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness.
–Brennan Manning

Dear Munchkins,

Never apologize for being needy. We’re born that way. We come into the world physically needy in that we need air, food, water, clothes, and shelter. We come into the world spiritually needy in that we need an intimate relationship with God. And, we come into the world psychologically needy in that we need an intimate relationship with other human beings, which is what I want to talk about here.

You come into the world with a soul, meaning a mind, will, and emotions. You mind is your “thinker” and interprets and perceives reality. You will is your “chooser” and takes a course of action in responding to the things that happen to you. Your emotions are your “feeler” and enable you to respond to life with emotional vitality so that you don’t walk around like an unfeeling robot. Your soul is wired by God with psychological needs, and I want you to know it’s okay to have them and okay for you to want them met by others.

Your psychological needs include attention, acceptance, appreciation, affirmation, affection, comfort, encouragement, respect, security, support, and understanding. Now, another granddad who’s a psychologist might have told you that you have fifty psychological needs (that would be an overly indulgent granddad) and another might have told you that you have one or two (that would be an overly withholding granddad). I’m suggesting you have these eleven needs (plus or minus maybe one) and that you’re going to go through life in a much healthier manner if you’re aware that you have them and humbly ask other people to meet them.

There are four traps people fall into about having psychological needs. Some people deny that they have these needs. Some people think it’s selfish to have them. Some people try to meet these needs themselves. And some people think they are entitled to these needs being met (those are the narcissists I warned you about earlier). All of these folks aren’t thinking right when it comes to their psychological neediness and get in their own way related to living life in a fuller and richer way.

The bottom line here is that when God knit you together in your mother’s womb, He made you needy in all three ways—physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Part of the method to God’s madness is that He wanted to make sure you went through life humble and poor in spirit, aware that you’re needy and can’t meet these needs yourself. We all depend on God for how these various needs are going to be met each day, and that’s something we need to learn to be more okay with over time.

Munchkins, I was raised to think “poor in spirit” meant you’re down on yourself, that you think of yourself as a worthless piece of dirt. That’s not what it means. Poor in spirit means that you’ve accepted how needy you are, grown to be okay with it, and that you’re not going to spend the rest of your life acting like you’re self-sufficient.

So, for the rest of your life, I want you to stay aware of the fact that you have these psychological needs and be more willing to directly ask other people to meet them. Please, don’t expect people to read your mind and give you what you need without asking. Doing that gets in the way of God keeping you humble, and you don’t want to do that.

Before I close, please make sure you practice the other side of all this by being willing to meet the psychological needs of others as well. Healthy relationships are a two-way street that require both people to meet each other’s needs, not one person doing all the giving. I’ve seen relationships where both people were in take-mode the whole time, what we call a “two ticks and no dog” relationship. Save yourself a lot of heartache and don’t get involved in anything like that.
The Bible says “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), and it’s trying to tell us to be okay with the fact we come into the world needy and stay that way the whole time we’re here. As you go through life, please make sure you humble yourself and ask people for attention, acceptance, appreciation, affirmation, affection, comfort, encouragement, respect, security, support, and understanding. And let them ask you for the same. Be ready to hear a “no” on occasion given that all of us are all prone to being selfish at times or simply can’t meet your needs in the moment. But don’t let a no keep you from asking.

Pop has spent most of his life acting like he wasn’t needy, going the Lone Ranger route (look it up) and not having healthy, authentic relationships with others along the way. God has helped me be more okay with my neediness over the years, and my relationship with Him and others has greatly improved. I want you to start working on that earlier than I did so that when you’re my age your relationship with God and your neighbor (the human race) is better than you could have ever hoped for or imagined.

What are you waiting for? Go tell someone what you need and ask them what they need from you! Time’s a wasting!

Love,
Pop