I Admit It, I Have Spiritual Needs

I got one of those words from God yesterday that went straight to the heart of my struggles and set me back on a path of life. When I tell you, some of you are going to realize I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed — but others of you are going to see that you have the same issue as I did, and might also find the same breakthrough that I did… So I’ll tell you: I have spiritual needs. There, I finally admitted it.

egypt-245124_1280_cropI was thinking that not wanting to admit my needs might be a guy thing, but I had a conversation with a female friend, and I am convinced it is not exclusively a guy thing. You see, oxygen, food, and warm shelter in the winter were the only needs I believed I had. But I’ve been in a spiritual funk for months, and I haven’t been able to shake it, and have been feeling kind of desperate. I tried checking in with God, and he seemed happy enough with me. Then I did a self-check on the sin stuff, and nothing was standing out. Realized that my quiet times weren’t as long or as consistent as they could be, and thought this was a contributing factor, but not the whole explanation.

So yesterday, I had a chance to go on a 5-hour silent retreat. These have consistently been spiritual high points for me, and I was pretty convinced that God was a big fan whenever I showed up at one. Yet I was a little scared about this one. Sure, I had to take a day off of work (and will probably pay the price in catching up today). But I was worried that because of my spiritual funk either I wouldn’t connect with God, or that I would come out of it no better (and perhaps worse) than when I went into it.

But I decided that I should go, because of God liking it, and because I had to try something to get out of the funk. Because I was so desperate, I started the retreat on the hour drive to get to the retreat center, you know, just talking with God in the car. When I was almost at the center, it hit me: I need God. Not just for salvation, but I need God to impart to me life, on a daily basis.

It had been so subtle, I didn’t even notice. I started coming to God to give: to worship, to honor him. That’s perfectly good, but I had not really been coming to God to get. And by allowing me to enter into such a spiritual funk, where I really felt out of sorts and, how to say it — cranky all the time — God was trying to get me to acknowledge how much I need him each day to fill me up.

Now, you ask, where is this in the Bible? Well I’ll tell you, and I’ll give you only one verse (though I’m betting I could find more): when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told them to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Lots of people know that verse, because it is the famous Lord’s Prayer that most believers learn in Sunday school or church. I’m sometimes overly literal, and while I didn’t actually think this was only speaking of bread, I think my mind had only expanded its meaning to include physical needs: food, clothing, and shelter. But surely when we are talking to the Lord, don’t we need more than that? I can be so stupid sometimes.

This revelation has changed my life in two ways. First, by acknowledging that I have needs other than physical needs, I can go about making space in my life to meet those needs. When I am hungry, I make space in my life to have a meal. So when I am spiritually hungry, should I not also make the time and place to satisfy that need? Second, since Jesus mentioned that we need to ask for our “bread” each day, I can freely ask God to fill me up each day. When I acknowledge that apart from him filling me up, I will be empty, it helps me better connect to God, better get what I need, and it gives me something else to daily be thankful for.

I think this is how the faith life is meant to be lived. It is certainly the principle behind the idea of having daily times with the Lord, but by explicitly acknowledging my need, it is less a discipline to get a badge for my spiritual achievements, and more an acknowledgement of my real dependence on God for my deepest needs.

13 thoughts on “I Admit It, I Have Spiritual Needs

  1. Anonymous

    Hey Tim. I appreciate your vulnerability and perspective. If I may, I will add a bit of my own perspective: I think another portion of scripture that applies to this spiritual need or the daily filling you are talking about is where it talks about God wanting us to be rooted and grounded in love, which takes a lot of filling by God to become so. Also, in Corinthians we are encouraged to follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts. From my understanding, the way of love is the way of relationship. Since having a relatiohship requires lots of giving by both parties in order to succeed, we need God a lot, everyday. The cool thing is He needs us too, or I should say wants us too (I am not sure about God’s “need” for me…). ‘Just another way to look at our need to be filled by God.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Beth

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Hey Beth! Thanks for the really insightful comments! I think the verses you selected are very good. I especially like your thought about God wanting us too!!! He really does. Just amazing,.. Such an awesome God. — Tim

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    Wow, I think this is such an amazing revelation. Personally, I have a habit of throwing God and everyone else in my project box. Then any interaction I have becomes more of a chore because I’m doing it to improve something rather than for the most important reasons. And then I wonder how it got to feeling so superficial. Thanks for the information!

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    1. Tim Thomas

      Thanks for sharing, Sarah! I always feel happy when something I’ve gone through or learned (especially through the school of hard knocks) helps somebody else grow in their walk with the Lord.

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      1. Sarah

        I was thinking about verses that pertain to your message and I thought that Jesus’ response to satan, when satan tempted him to make bead of the stones in the wilderness, and he answered that we don’t live by bread alone but by every weird of God. Before, it had always meant the obvious to me, but your message added a new dimension to it. It is as valid a need as food is, more valid at times. It helped keep Jesus sustained during forty days of fasting. Wow.

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  4. Dave

    Hey Tim! Must be something about being in our 50s because I’ve had a similar conversation with God recently. My conversation was, “God, I’m just plain burned out and I can’t do anything of value without your power.” God’s reply, “it’s about time you realized that!” And I could feel His power pour into me sort of like a complete battery recharge. Pretty awesome. I’ve stopped trying to do things under my own power…I like God’s better.

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  5. Tim Thomas

    Hi, Dave! Yeah, maybe by the time you reach your 50s, you’re too tired to fight… Or maybe it is the age of wisdom… Now that would be a happy thought! Glad you got revitalized, and glad we shared a revelation from God… I am still feeling recharged after being so cranky for months, so I’m going to say it confirms that the working really was of God.

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  6. Ginger

    Hi Tim, I had compared ‘give us our daily bread’ with what Jesus said in John 4:34 that his food was to do the will of his Father. So when I ask for my daily bread, I ask what is God’s will for me for that day.

    Reply
    1. Tim Thomas Post author

      Hi, Ginger! I just spent some time this month writing some commentary for John 4 (which I hope to post over the next week or so), and remember Jesus telling his disciples that exact quote! I think that is a very good and creative idea to include as part of praying for daily bread, along with the prayer I talked about in the article, the need to get filled up!

      Reply

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