God Meets Your Core Needs – Security & Identity
In Monday’s blog, I wrote that when our core needs of security, identity, belonging, purpose, and competence are met in healthy ways, primarily through God, we’ll have richer and better Christmas celebrations. There are many reasons to want your needs met well. Perhaps this timely one will motivate you today and this month.
It’s easy to be distracted by lies this time of year. Wants masquerade as needs. Some needs present themselves as more important than is appropriate. Legitimate needs can be unmet because of the confusions.
Security: Who Can I Trust?
We have a need for security – to be emotionally and physically safe and free from danger, fear, and anxiety. Jesus came to earth to be the ultimate security when He went to the cross and bore our sin upon Himself. We can trust Him for so much more. We are saved, totally forgiven, deeply and unconditionally loved, and instructed through His relevant, accurate, always true Word. Jesus didn’t stay a baby. This month, let’s celebrate that.
Security is met when we have healthy answers to the question, “Who can I trust?” The triune God is the best answer to this question. I hope you know He is trustworthy. For example, He is on our side, He tells the truth, He is consistent, He knows us, He is available, and He responds to us with grace, mercy, and truth.
When we are trustworthy, we can be a source of security for our children and others. But, this month, when we’re hurrying to shop, cook and clean and we’re stressed by to-do lists and people coming over (again!), it can be easy to not guard our tongue. If we don’t mean what we say, we yell, or we don’t follow through on promises we make, our children and others will be disappointed, confused, and even angry. Being able to trust us allows them to be secure, joyful, and content.
Security should be met in people. If we try to meet the need in things, we’ll be in trouble. If we try to meet our need for security by making the perfect Christmas cookie, we’ll be stressed. Or maybe for you, it’s the outside lights and decorations and competing with your neighbors even though you say you don’t mean to. Or, have you placed your security in your child’s choir performance? Or, maybe you are trusting that everyone will help you around the house more than they normally do. Or, are you putting your security in the idea that you’ll get the perfect gift under the tree? Things will never meet our need. People can try, but we’ll be disappointed because we’re all imperfect.
We can trust God to meet our need for security. Will we? Do we?
Identity: Who Am I?
We have a need for identity – to know who we are. It’s met when we have healthy answers to the question, “Who am I?” It’s most valuable to know that we are intentionally and uniquely designed by God and to believe He did a good thing when He made us to be who we are. Do you believe that? Do you value who you are?
Our security changes when we humble ourselves and trust Christ for our salvation through faith in God. Our identity is also instantly and radically changed for the better. We are now known, valued, complete, adopted into the best family ever, and much, much more. This month, when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s remember all He came to change for us. He makes us new!
If we or our children have a narrow identity, we’ll struggle when that one view of ourselves fails us. For example, if we only identify as excellent cooks, and our gravy isn’t perfect, our vegetables are overcooked, or our Christmas cookies are boring, we’ll struggle. Chances are that we had also placed our security in our cooking ability so now two of our needs aren’t met.
What if your son’s identity is “I’m a soccer star” or “I’m the best math student” and he doesn’t make the team and a classmate earns a better grade? Now, who is he? His identity is now negative and past tense (“I used to be good at soccer” and “I’m not the best math student anymore.”) His security, too is at risk.
We and our children need a positive, accurate, and current identity. This month, provide your children with specific feedback. Are they helpful? Tell them they are. Are they creative when it comes to thinking of gifts to make or buy? Tell them. Are they considerate when their grandparents are over? Tell them that. Don’t tell them they were “good.” That’s not helpful because it’s not repeatable. Tell them what they did that was good. These specific words influence their identity.
Regularly get in touch with who you really are. Be careful of negative self-talk when your head hits the pillow after a long day. If you rehearse the negatives of the day, you’ll blow them out of proportion and it won’t do you any good. Did you forget to deliver cookies to your neighbors? They’ll live. Did you yell? Forgive yourself and ask to be forgiven. Did you not get all the decorations unpacked and ready to display? It’s okay. What did you do that was good and right?
The way God meets our need for identity is best. This month, celebrate who He is and who He says you are!
[Please come back to the blog next Monday to read about our need for belonging and purpose.]
I’ve taught about these core needs for over 30 years and they are the topic of my first book, Finding Authentic Hope and Wholeness: Five Questions that Will Change Your Life. You can purchase it here. We also have support products you might want to check out.