To feel need is to receive grace.
Frances J. Roberts
I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the quiet holiday we had last week. With weather like a Currier and Ives painting, my husband and I never left the house the two days of Christmas. Sheltered within from the falling snow without, we ate, napped, celebrated Emmanuel with us, marathon’d our way through several Star Wars episodes, caught up with long-distance family and munched on holiday treats we don’t indulge in the rest of the year. Our ‘world’ took a back seat as we guiltlessly engaged the four-day break we granted ourselves.
Back in Round Three I mentioned feeling needy. A week or so later someone posted an unrelated personal Facebook remark that disparaged feeling needy. I scrolled on past it but not before thinking, ‘Would you like to walk a mile in our moccasins?’
You see, we work with people. Lots and lots of people. Wounded and hurting people. People wanting to get unstuck and move forward. People with life coming at them from all directions. Needy people. Which is our calling and our joy, our work and our livelihood. It impacts our life, our humanity, our spirit and our soul. And wouldn’t you know it – our bodies and mental state of being as well. Others’ needs bring out the needy in us too.
We cannot do what we are called to do without fresh grace and some scheduled respite from time to time. Over the past fifteen years, there have been some – thankfully, few – who have expected 365, 24/7 availability. Call us the Grinch and Grinchess, the healthiest thing we’ve learned to do for our needy selves is to say NO.
Some kinds of needy never take a break. If we are going to remain present to others for the still longer haul, it is the gift of grace that keeps on giving that we must take and receive for ourselves. Grace when we feel need.
It was interesting to note that Reflections of an Election Heart, Round Eight is exactly midway through a 15-round prize fight in the boxing ring. It’s rather like that make or break point that helps determine if you’re going to stay in there and see it through to hopeful victory, or if you’re going to let down prematurely and never know.
The apostle Paul understood fighting for the prize, shadow boxing the enemies of his soul and of his King. Yet he knew that it was not in his own strength or by his own hand that he would win the prize and gain souls. It was only as he set the Lord before him, like David penned, that Paul could continually re-engage until the final round.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.*
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.*
Psalm 16:7-9 NASB
As we Americans and the rest of the world approach Inauguration Day about three weeks from now, we will continue to know, meet, pass by, and be needy people. After all, we (blessedly) still live in the age of grace. God’s grace – that is more than enough for every need and needy person among us. Which sometimes is us.
Right here though is where the wicket gets sticky. Needy people are partial to their flavor of needy. There’s an old saying along the lines of trying to be all things to all people. Some advice? Forget it. That’ll never happen, individually.
And here’s some other advice. For those who thought either President-Elect Trump or Hillary Clinton was going to be the first one to walk on God’s green earth to pull that off, Someone else already did and no one else has since He walked this earth. You and I are not capable of being all things to all people. You are capable of being some things to some people and I am capable of being some things to some people. Together, we help close the huge gap of unmet needs. You receiving grace when and where you feel need and the same for me.
Understanding that can certainly relieve some of the anxious compelling that accompanies our acts of grace. If I had a dollar for every Facebook meme, sermon, newspaper headline, and direct or email request for funds, I would be a rich woman. Needs surround us. Needs define us, to an extent. Unmet needs need to meet grace.
In order to stay in the ring and go another round, and then another and another…we must continually point to the One who stands at the right hand of the needy, which includes us. When He is set securely before us, then we can come alongside and point others to Him in hopes they in turn will set Him before their right hand. Stirred, not shaken. Learning to dwell securely.*
Whoever thinks feeling or being needy is a less than desirable trait is a candidate for missing out on God’s grace.
What makes it undesirable is when we look to others as the sole source for something they can never fully provide. (This is where I use my pointer stick, tapping the chalkboard again where it says ‘Abba’ in big letters).
With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
For He stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save him from those who judge his soul.
Sometimes He gives us opportunity to stand with Him at the right hand of the needy. When He does, we can never receive or have need of too much grace. The more He provides, the more our thanksgiving may multiply. The more needy with which we find ourselves surrounded, the more opportunity to praise Him in the midst.
Other times we are the needy and He is found singing over us while covered with His feathers of quiet grace. To feel need is to receive grace. I highly recommend it.
January 2017 will inaugurate the new with the old. We are in pivotal round eight. Spit. And let us go on to know.
~ Gracefully Free
 Zephaniah 3:17