The deadly trio of deep need buried in every human heart is approval, acceptance, and affirmation. The overwhelming need to pursue this trio brings death to every relationship, save one. If we continue to seek this fluctuating trio in our fellow man or woman, we will never satisfy our need.
The story of Eve’s temptation in the garden showcases our biggest needs and our biggest failures. Eve demonstrated the seductive lure of power. We can be great, having all knowledge, allowing us to be completely independent. Power introduced the beginning of the end for approval, acceptance, and affirmation. First, she covered her body. No longer is her nakedness acceptable. Next, she hides herself knowing that she was no long approved to stand before God. Lastly, she finds no affirmation for actions.
The pure relationship she enjoyed with the Creator is broken.
No longer can she sit unclothed before the Creator. Eve was the first woman to be “not enough.” We like her face the same problems. We find ourselves always covering up, while simultaneously looking for approval. My biggest heartbreaks in life came from the expectation that significant people in my life are able to give me the trio of need I seek.
As Eve left the perfection of the garden, so must we abandon our idea of finding complete approval, acceptance, and affirmation in this life.
Even after we enter a relationship with Jesus Christ, the struggle “to feel” is often in conflict with what we “know.” It is in this struggle that the understanding of the pervasiveness of selfishness and the graciousness of the Savior magnifies the power of the Gospel to us who believe.
Our utmost problem is self. Although we know Christ, we continue to seek fulfillment of this trio in the world, and the world continues to seek it us. The fluctuating approval we find in the world makes us feel unsteady, even within our church friends. After every trial or tribulation, we need a new manifestation of the Spirit to bolster our faith. Often our need harms our relationship with our spouses, family, and friends as they fail us, and we fail them.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
I was finished being tossed around by every wave of the sea after a trial. I began to see that I focused my faith on my healing. After my son died, I came face to face with is Jesus enough? Is Jesus all I need? What if I never healed? Would I be OK, if He said to me what he said to Paul?
2 Corinthians 12:9
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
As I cried out to the Lord, I realized I had to leave the fantasy of living in the garden of Eden. Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in the Serenity Prayer,
“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is
Not as I would have it.”
This trio of need is my weakness. When we see weakness in ourselves we must make a choice. One, we become ultra-religious believing that increased discipleship will help us maneuver around weakness. We continue in our independence. Secondly, we make moving through our weakness our purpose. We define our purpose and make it the center of our faith. We are using God to get what we want, meaning in our pain. Neither of these were sufficient for me to find any measure of the trio.
My ultra-religious activities were never quite enough to purify my self-centeredness. I still needed the approval of others, and no amount of religious activity or enthusiastic worship cured me. Secondly, I was in danger of committing the post hoc fallacy, if I sought to find “my” purpose in my trials. Post hoc states, “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.” For example, Jim Elliot died on the mission field. His wife Elizabeth had an incredible ministry of recruitment of people for missions, therefore, God used Jim Elliot’s death for good in Elizabeth’s life. This is true. We commit the post hoc fallacy. When tragedy strikes us, we begin to assume the good that God will do in our lives. Who am I to decide that God is going to use the tragedy of my son’s death, so that I can have a ministry of comfort to the grieving? Because I can comfort others with the comfort God has given me does not mean that God’s purpose in Kai’s death is for me to find the meaning in this life through a platform to the grieving, therefore, satisfying my need for the trio.
I am left with my weakness. My weakness drives me to a deeper relationship with Jesus. Every time I need approval, I go to Him. I need acceptance, I run to Him. I need affirmation, I fall on Him. I accept that in this life I will always be utterly dependent on Jesus to satisfy this trio. I have come to a place to accept that I may always struggle “to feel” this trio in my life, and this struggle is the very pressure Jesus uses to draw me to Himself.
This struggle forces me to deepen my understanding of faith. Faith is believing without seeing. I stopped always looking for a manifestation of the Spirit in my life. Trials will come. Now, I meditate on the Truth, Jesus, instead of searching for something from the world to steady my faith.
I once asked God to send me a dove like He did for Jesus with a beautiful voice from heaven saying, “This is my daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” Because I searched for a physical manifestation, it took me a while to realize that I did get that, “In Christ.” Now, I can glory in my weakness because when I feel weak the power of Christ resides in me.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In order to know Jesus more, I go to the Word. Here is a Resource to Break Chains and Live Free.
The pdf is also listed on my Resource page under Healing Our Emotions.