By Nancy Virden (c)2020
What do you want?
What do you need?
These questions asked of me in 1988 and 2011 respectively were foreign and startling because I was operating on an error. A core belief that my existence was for the sake of other people produced resentment and anger at those who would take advantage and at people who did not rescue me from my unspoken trap. Sadness with confusion over lost hopes and dreams joined guilt and fear of spiritual condemnation over perceived failures. These and other uncomfortable emotions hid under a cover of self-righteousness serving as a type of comfort and defense.
I could not have explained any of that back then. So when a doctor asked, “What do you want?” with regard to fighting for my life or not, the answer came hesitantly largely due to the strangeness of it.
“I want to raise my little boy,” I said. Being 10-week-old Jon’s mommy was exciting, albeit scary, considering I had not experienced a functional family. Still, it was my desire more than anything. The question had pushed me into reality. Stating what I wanted solidified it and gave me the power to fight for it.
“What do you need?” Twenty-three years later, long past thinking about wants, unmet needs had me in a weakened state of mental health. It was inconceivable that this fact mattered.
Still, the question made me sit up in my chair. The speaker had added the importance of getting our own needs met. Desperation competed against a chorus of negative beliefs and won. God somehow opened my mind to understand it was time to learn a new way of existing.
I blurted, “Really? It’s not selfish?”
Almost ten years have passed. I still believe I am here for a purpose beyond myself. This blog is part of that. Jesus Christ set our example of loving service.
Paying attention to when my needs are unmet allows me to take them to the Lord in prayer. In recent weeks, admitting a need for support and reaching out for it has planted my feet back on the path of recovery. Needs are necessary. By finding ways to get them met, we remain healthy to do God’s good work.
Now the old false beliefs are gone, the holy and unfailing love of God shines in, spreading light over what is true and eternal.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 1:7; 23:23
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…
Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved
I was able to relate with what you wrote here. I remember years ago being asked or thinking:
“What do I want?”
“What do ‘I’ want ????”
My mind became completely blank.
The question was so foreign to me. For decades, I had trained myself to ALWAYS think of the other person first. What I ‘wanted’ was to meet their needs, to help them, make sure they were ok.
I trained myself to ‘want’ and ‘need’ nothing for myself, considering it to be selfish.
I am breaking that chain.
I have 2 wonderful daughters,
ages 24 and 22. I raised them to be considerate of others, but that it’s ok to fit them to take care of themselves too.
Thank you again for your insightful and inspiring writings.
Thank you! I think perhaps women struggle with this more than men, but men have pressures too. God bless!