My eyes welled up with tears as I stared at the perpetually silent phone, praying for it to ring. Praying for an indication that somebody cared.
My constant, desperate need to be loved and noticed, to want others to desire to spend time with me, sabotaged any real chance I had for healthy relationships. My angry responses to the rejection I felt only perpetuated the cycle.
In my neediness, I felt helpless to behave differently. My desperation to be wanted screamed louder than my ability to calm down enough so others would enjoy my company. And the huge why-didn’t-you-return-my-calls and other chips on my shoulders didn’t exactly help spread holiday cheer at family gatherings.
It wasn’t until my sister, Teri, suggested I concentrate on loving others instead of demanding they love me that things began to change.
When we consider that others also desire to be loved, noticed, and valued, a wonderful healing takes place in our hearts – and in our relationships. Especially when we’re able to offer attention to those who aren’t easy to be around, those who wear their own chips on their shoulders.
We can’t do this, however, if we’re void of love. But I have great news. We – you – are loved. Deeply and completely loved. And because we’re loved by Someone magnificent, we can love others.
Look at this short but powerfully beautiful verse:
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
Because God loves us, even with all the chips we shoulder, we find comfort, security and stability in Him. In gratitude we can put aside our gaping, bottomless need for love and ask Him to show us others who need to feel loved, too.
Everyone, every single person, has a need to be noticed, appreciated and loved. Even nitpicky Aunt Hazel, prettier-than-me Sue Ellen and nosy-church-member Agatha.
Loving others is the best way to overcome loneliness. It might even make our telephone ring. And on the days when the phone seems a bit too silent, we can pick it up and reach out to someone else who needs to know someone cares.
What about you?
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- Can you relate to this week’s message?
- Would meditating on this week’s Bible verse help change your focus?
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