Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Confessing my Addiction

I have an addiction.

Oh, it's not a physical addiction or anything; rather, it's an addiction of the spirit.  Something I've convinced myself I can't live without and something I am finding very difficult to give up.

I am addicted to being needed.

I can remember many years ago, when I started babysitting at the age of twelve, that I felt completely mature and responsible.  I was chosen by parents who trusted me to watch their children, when really, I was nothing more than a child myself.  Somehow, I decided that if I didn't stay with their children, nobody else would and the parents would never get to go out.  I was needed, and it felt good.

As the years passed, and I began to serve in the church, playing the piano or working in the children's program, my addiction flourished and grew.  Craving the praise of others, I proudly performed my duties, decidedly certain that the church could not function without my help.  I was needed, and it fed my ego.

Soon, I became an adult, was blessed with a husband, and my need to be needed, already strong and needing something on which to feed, could take over.  Surely this man needed me to form him into the person he should be!  God had called me to be his wife, right?  That meant it was my job to control the outcome!  So as I carefully crafted my relationship, I felt needed, and it injured my marriage.

All along, as people came to me for help and advice, pouring out their hearts to me, I would drop everything to run to their aid.  After all, my spiritual gift is encouragement, and it's my duty to use it!  And for a long time, I would dole out the perfect words, the "spiritual" words, bringing glory to myself and not to God.  I knew what to say, and I gave comfort!  Why else would they come to me?  I must be great!!!!  And so I chose my own relationships and put everything into them, leaving out the most important part- God's plan.  But I was needed!!!! Or so I thought...

"...Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

You know, it's funny.  An addiction in the spirit isn't something readily found.  Our clothes don't smell of smoke and our breath doesn't smell of alcohol.  This kind of addiction is something that God has to point out, and most of the time we aren't willing to listen at all.  Addiction takes root and becomes part of who we are, and before we know it, we're choking in the vine of self.

It turns out that I'm not really needed in the way I've come to believe.  Yes, God is choosing to use me to be his hands and feet, but the lesson I must learn is that I am not the one who is needed; He is!  My loving Redeemer is teaching me that my only requirement is to serve Him and point others to Him.  Being the one who gets things done or helps people is an humbling honor, not something to bring attention to myself or boost my self esteem.  It really has nothing to do with me...  All He needs from me is a "yes."


Joy in this Journey said...

Excellent thoughts here, Katie. It is very unhealthy for us to build relationships in which we are needed and needy. I'm so happy for you that you're seeing it!

Michele-Lyn Ault said...

I love your heart here.. as always. I do not always get a chance to comment, but I do read your posts, usually through email. I am so inspired by your life and your walk with God... Blessings to you friend.

Rebecca said...

Great thoughts! The key is to need Him and put Him first -- to allow Him to validate us and not others.

Nikki said...

I am loving watching God reveal how He is refining you, friend! I have spiritual addictions as well He is working on me. The need for control. Order. it gets in the way soooo much. and I remember being broken of the need to be needed a few years back. not going to lie, that one hurts. praying for you.

love what you said--all He needs from me is a yes. YES! love to you!

Jerry_Hodge said...

Yes! This is me. So helpful to hear your recognition of the need to be needed. I love the declaration that it is not about me at all. In my moments of needing to be needed I pretend it's love when in reality it is quite the opposite.

Thanks do much for sharing, Katie.

Laura said...

Katie, I love reading your blog. I have a simliar the praises and admiration of others. And the process of recognizing it and pulling out has taken years and tears. Thanks sharing. Love knowing I am not the only one. 

AshlieWrites said...

oh my goodness....are we the same person?? lol. 

you know what's funny...just yesterday my sister was over for coffee and we had a conversation that is sooo much like this post. about addictions and how our "Christian" addictions are often those things that are so subtle and seemingly "good". we so easily point fingers at those with outer addictions, when the ones inside eat away like a cancer.

You put it so well. I love that verse from John 15:5. So very true, but so often I don't live like I believe it. Convicting! 

Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your heart!! This is challenging and I love it!


Joy Wombles said...

"I'm not the one who is needed, He is."  Such a simple statement but it contains so much truth.  Beautiful post, and I'm so happy to have discovered your blog thanks to Niki's prayer project.  I plan to read more and I will be praying for you today.
Joy {}  


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