The week between Christmas and New Year’s is…weird. Everything builds up to a zenith on December 25th – which is a great day – but then it ends. And we find ourselves suspended in mid-air until after the calendar actually turns, listless and a bit out of sorts, wondering what even happened during the past year and feeling hesitant about jumping into the new year with two feet. Maybe there is something to be done differently. Maybe we can enter January with a less dysfunctional way of doing things. Or, maybe everything is totally fine and everyone needs to just relax, because we’re all just going to stumble repeatedly along the journey towards our finish line.

Sometimes, I’m not really sure.

This morning I found myself thinking about whether everything I do is rooted in a desire to be loved. I mean, why do I write these blogs? Because I feel that the words I write can encourage someone, yes. But also because I want others to see the writer behind these words – my heart, my perspective on things – and consequently find me, in a sense, beautiful. It’s not the only reason, and it’s not the driving reason, but it’s a reason.

In part, I want others to see the writer behind these words – my heart, my perspective on things – and consequently find me, in a sense, beautiful. It’s not the only reason, and it’s not the driving reason, but it’s a reason.

And that’s okay.

Why do I work out and try to stay in shape? The primary reason is that it helps me feel better physically. If I’m in shape, I feel stronger and more capable and more energized to do all I need to do each day (such as running after and picking up my kiddos). But a secondary reason is because I want to remain attractive to Rachel, and keep the same fitness level as the person she fell in love with. I know her well enough by now to know that she would still love me regardless of how my body looked, but the desire to do what I can to be loved by her is still there.

And that too is okay.

I am a leader in my area of study, and there are a lot of requests made of me to do various things. I am sincerely thankful for this. But my life would be a lot easier if I would just pull out from all of it. At least for a while. However, I’ve met so many kind, wonderful people over the last 10+ years doing what I do, and right now I feel lots of (genuine) love from them and I genuinely love them back and it’s hard to give that up. Many or even all of them would totally support my decision, but I would feel less loved. I need God’s love first and foremost, but apparently I also need other people’s love (and admiration, and respect), at least a little bit.

Humans are relational beings. We need each other as purveyors of tangible help (such as when you ask me to come over to help you move) as well as intangible help (when you show me that you like me and care about what’s going on in my life). Love is the most powerful force there is, and the desire to be loved is innate in all of us.

There is absolutely no shame in this. Humans are relational beings. We need each other as purveyors of tangible help (such as when you ask me to come over to help you move) as well as intangible help (when you show me that you like me and care about what’s going on in my life). Love is the most powerful force there is, and the desire to be loved is innate in all of us. Including God Himself. He created us so that we could be in a loving relationship with Him. Seriously, that was His purpose with Adam and Eve and the rest of us. He didn’t *need* our love, but He wanted it. He desired it. Plus, He knew that such a relationship – if prioritized – would be good for us.

Actually, it would be best for us.

There would be (and is) nothing better.

God modeled the desire to be loved.

Despite this truth, at some point we started to condemn ourselves for our own desire to be loved by others. Maybe this is because it makes us vulnerable, dependent, and in a place of need – which are not socially acceptable characteristics. Plus, that place of need is often exploited in super painful ways by thoughtless others. And one way to protect against that is harshly judging ourselves for being that way so we snap out of it as quickly as possible.

God modeled the way we should be. He is real with His desire to be loved by us, and also real with the hurt He feels when we don’t. There is a freedom in this – a freedom to fully be who He is because He’s not posing or posturing or isolating for safety.

Here again, God modeled the way we should be. He is real with His desire to be loved by us, and also real with the hurt He feels when we don’t. There is a freedom in this – a freedom to fully be who He is because He’s not posing or posturing or isolating for safety. He’s not trying to be stronger or prouder or completely cut off from anything that might cause Him pain. Because love is enjoyed most deeply when it’s given and received with authenticity and vulnerability.

I’m not going to be ashamed or afraid of my desire to be loved. This is how I was made, and God made me in His image. I’ll know when I’m becoming too dependent on love from people, which won’t often happen if I keep Him first and foremost in my life. And when it does happen, I just have to return to Him – because loving Him reminds me that my own desire to be loved is God-given.

Image source: https://bit.ly/3hlFreO – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush, Universal

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