Recently, I was blessed to spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. Our independently planned trips to the same desert town overlapped; and to our delight, we were able to spend a day together. Throughout our shared breakfast on a sunny patio, our stroll in and out of galleries, and a short visit to a cultural center, we intuitively sated deep needs.
We broke bread with someone dear, felt the encouragement of true connection, immersed in healing beauty, and moved our bodies in the sun. As we met these needs in real time, we spoke about why it’s hard for both of us to ask for and make room for what we need in our daily lives.
This is not a new conversation. If I recap many kindred-spirit chats, I envision the same sentiments popping up in cartoon conversation-bubbles:
I’ve become so depleted and discouraged—what happened?
Why did I think my employer, family, friends would prioritize my needs when I didn’t for myself?
I wish I’d had the energy to shift course when I first felt the nudge.
Is the story of the person who set boundaries and lived to tell about it an urban legend?
In a few years, I’ll make _________ a priority. I’m too overwhelmed right now.
Life is so busy, I never stop to ask myself what I want or need.
CAN YOU RELATE?
Have any of these comments been a part of text threads or thought cycles this past year? Speaking of this year…with all its frustrations, tensions, and forced changes, it’s been a catalyst for the healing practice of taking stock. Many of us are identifying what really matters—what we can live without and what we can’t live without.
We’re getting down on our knees to pray for essentials.
We’re getting down to the needs that heal us.
In the absence of grand plans and the deluge of extracurriculars, our hearts can be heard. Let’s pay attention. These two practices will help you distinguish the real needs from the bullish ones that take over calendars, behaviors, and choices; and they will nudge you forward in hope.
SPEND FIVE MINUTES IN PRAYER AND STILLNESS.
Ask the question aloud, “What is my heart need today?” What answer arises? Don’t skim over it because it feels too ordinary. Even sweet actions of TLC can reawaken us to gratitude and hope. Here is a brief list of needs to prompt your mind and spirit’s offerings:
|time to rest and breathe||a way to let go of _______|
|help and comfort||a sense of hope and a future|
|perspective shift||a new way of doing things|
|clarity for a next step||courage for a leap of faith|
DO ONE THING TO TEND TO THE NEED WITH FAITH.
Take one gentle, prayerful measure to honor that need. Can you make it happen? Do it. If it involves letting go of a long-held habit or hurt, take one step in that direction—make the call, apologize, voice your request, imagine what renewal will look and feel like, take a prayer walk or journal to discern first actions of a long term plan.
I know. This practice seems too ordinary to be fruitful. But, my friend, we delay our healing and hope when we believe it will only come in the wake of grandiose miracles, parades and accolades for our work, lottery wins, or whatever else we’ve banked on to change our lives.
To recognize your simplest need is to recognize your deepest need for the Creator. This is when real miracles start…this how great gifts unfold.
Hope Lyda has a heart for helping people explore their life, purpose, faith, and connection to this world through the power of the written word. She is a spiritual director, editor, and writer who has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. Her popular devotionals, novels, and prayer books have sold more than one million copies combined. Visit her at www.mywritedirection.com.
The above excerpt is from Hope’s new book, What Do You Need Today? where Hope offers you insight, understanding, levity, a listening ear, and coaching for that inspired next step.