“…and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus.” You will find that written in Phil 4: 7. Now, where will you find security or peace? Well, that depends on you I guess.
This week, I want to look at the emotional/relational need for security/peace. The two are listed at the same time and are generally thought of as the same need. For grammatical ease and simplicity I will use them interchangeably. A simple definition and scriptural reference would be, ” Ensuring harmony in relationships even as conflicts are
resolved, trust is deepened and vulnerability is expressed; Providing freedom
from fear or threat of harm. (Romans 12:16, 18).”
I tread carefully for many of you who would have (knowingly or otherwise) a high need for security/peace have most likely had quite a go of it in relationships over the years. Years of turmoil, lack of stability both physically (lots of moving, flux in people in your life) and emotionally (unstable relationships, highly variable and even dangerous behavior from caregivers) has most likely taken quite a toll on you. Remember, most of your adult emotional needs are rooted in what happened in your life up to age 12 or so. Granted, major life trauma or events leave their marks at any time but your formative years set the tone for a lifetime.
Your need for peace may express itself in many ways. You might find the need to always control your world. You need to know where everything and everyone is at all times. You hate not knowing…anything really but especially where loved ones are physically but also emotionally. “Are things ok?”, “are we ok?”, “are you angry with me?” are all questions that you frequently ask… a lot. Worry, anxiety, and yes, fear are a nagging side kick to every project, day or even thought of yours. You play the “what if” game out loud and much more thoroughly, in your head, all day long. The “what if” never ends well. You probably quit before you get to the the end of the possible scenarios.
Please do not feel guilty about this. You are not “crazy”. Yes, people have told you that you are, you are not. You are not a “control freak”. You are seeking to meet a need that you desperately must have. Sadly, as with all emotional needs, if you are manipulating your world to get it met, it will not satiate you. Again, if you are controlling your world to meet an emotional/relational need it will not meet that need.
Practically speaking, a good place to start to deal with this (and any) need is, as always, open/honest and vulnerable communication. Communicate to those you are closest to that it is really important to you to have more peace/security. When Rachel and I learned that she had a high need for security (back in the day when we first learned about all of this) she realized that this explained why she needed to know where I was pretty much at all times. She would call me and ask how a meeting went, where I was going next, and what my schedule was for the rest of the day. Being an insensitive/ignorant (in the truest sense of the word) boob that I am…was, I became bothered and even offended. “Don’t you trust me? I already told you what my day looked like and you are calling me after my first meeting?” are loving responses I would often offer my love. I took the “check ins” as an attack on my responsibility, as a lack of respect (we’ll talk about that need real soon). When I realized that it would simply help her get through the day and give her peace/security, I was excited to love her in that way. The more I called and checked in the better she felt and less I needed to check in. Eventually I was bothering her with my “check ins”.
Remember, the best way to get a handle this and all emotional needs is to make sure to address the hurts you had growing up. I have written and referred to how many times recently and it applies to all needs. This won’t necessarily eliminate the need but it will go a long way toward lessening the severity of that need.
However, there is something you can do to help in the short term to avoid that horrific downward spiral into panic/anxiety attacks and on a longer term basis ulcers and other physical ailments that come from just chucking this need aside and not dealing with it. You may think I am referring to Phil 4:6-7 which state “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Well, yes (after all it is the first component of a successful relationship as mentioned in this post) but there’s more. You see, reading that used to actually give me more stress. I would think, “Crap, I’m stressed…and now I’m stressed THAT I’m stressed.”
The answer lies in Phil 4: 8 “8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Don’t focus on what might go wrong, focus on what has gone right. The problem is for many of you/us is that you quickly counter with, “not much Jay, no, not much has gone right” and many examples flood your brain from recent hurts all the way back to hurts from years gone by. If you can attach some comfort to those hurts though, you can begin to focus on that comfort, not the pain of those moments. Not only will you think differently, you will feel different. You will notice healing where there was pain, comfort where there was grief. Focus on that, and perhaps, your need for security, your desire for peace will begin to be satiated and no longer will you be lost in your fear/anxiety.
This is a HUGE need for so many people and I have had some insight on this recently with the thoughts on what lies ahead for us in regards to Trey and his diagnosis. Thus, I will continue to write about this tomorrow and even (most likely) touch on it Wednesday with an update on Trey. Until then, continue to be open, honest, and vulnerable. Communicate your need(s) to your most trusted loved ones and explain how they can help you meet those needs. You are worth it.