It feels good to be desired and to know our presence makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others. And wanting to be wanted is simply our desire to be affirmed and to know we matter. But this desire quickly becomes a problem when it turns into needing to be needed.
It’s one thing to want the gifts we offer to others to be seen, affirmed, and appreciated. But it becomes something else entirely when we manipulate others to become dependent on us just to stroke our own ego.
For instance, it’s great to influence others and to be looked to for our leadership. But part of leadership is guiding others toward God’s best. And we’re committed to this even if it means we need to get out of the way. But this is not a freedom we can allow when we need to be needed. Instead, we pridefully arrange things to control and keep others dependent on us.
Likewise, few joys compare to being desired and chosen to spend a lifetime with another in marriage. And it’s certainly a good and healthy desire to want to be wanted in such a close and intimate relationship. But a mature and healthy marriage depends on the freedom of this choice. And we’re in danger of making ourselves an idol when we need to be needed by our wife.
Whatever it looks like, we cannot take the place of God. And so while we want to be wanted – desired, chosen, and admired for who we are and what we offer to others – it’s not our place to be the ultimate source of life for others.
Of course, there’s good only we can do. But the point here is simply to check the motivations of our heart. Has our simple desire to reflect God’s goodness become a prideful need to be needed?
In the end, it’s okay to want to be wanted as you seek to bring more life and goodness into the world. But it’s not okay to need to be needed and try to take the place of God in the lives of others.