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."