I’m Needy

by Karen Richter

I’m needy and so are you.

How do you feel about being called needy? Why is needy such a pejorative… one of the worst things we can call someone else? As you’re reading, do you even hear that word differently, like ‘nEEEEEEEEE-dy,’ with an exaggerated tone and a little eye roll?

I'm Needy by Karen Richter, Southwest Conference Blog, United Church of Christ






Our culture, even in our churches, is so infused with American-style rugged individualism. For our children (in lots of families), no skill is prized more than independence. Whether it’s toileting or sleeping solo or shoe tying, we are hell-bent, so to speak, on passing on the values of independence and individualism. English idioms in the US evince a huge cultural preference for NOT being needy.

self-made / ‘self-made man’
pull up by one’s own bootstraps
your own person
independent as a hog on ice
making it / I made that
lone wolf
free mind
live and let live
cup of tea / ‘that’s not my…’
stiff upper lip
stand up / ‘stand up guy’
elbow room
green light
like a dog (doggedness, dog with a bone)
run of / ‘the run of the place’

However… have you tried recently to declare your independence from oxygen? from water? from food? from sleep? … from love?

We need things, and those things are remarkably consistent from person to person. Besides the usual physical needs (food, water, air, shelter), we need respect and fairness; we need to be heard; we need our lives to have meaning; we need a sense of safety. Can you think of other needs?

Today, can you be gentle with yourself? When things go sideways, can you ask, “What need was alive in me when this happened? What need was I trying to meet?”

Today, can you be gentle with others? When you’re tempted to blame and shame, can you ask, “What need might that person be trying to meet?” Even if you guess that person’s need incorrectly, you will have awakened your spirit to empathy.

Stop worrying, then, over questions such as, “What are we to eat,” or “what are we to drink,” or “what are we to wear?” Those without faith are always running after these things. God knows everything you need. Seek first God’s reign, and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you besides.
~Matthew 6.31-34, The Inclusive New Testament (emphasis is mine ☺)

I'm Needy by Karen Richter, Southwest Conference Blog, United Church of ChristThis kind of empathy for self and for others is a building block of Nonviolent Communication. It’s a helpful skill (I’m totally a beginner).

Explore more about human needs here.

Phoenix NVC Learners meetup

Blessings on your needy human journey!

The Cure for Writer’s Block

by Ryan Gear

If you are a pastor writing sermons, or if you serve in any creative role, you have undoubtedly experienced writer’s block (or some other form of creativity block). All creative people feel blocked at times.

The pressure to produce sometimes motivates us. At times, however, we experience some funk that holds back our ideas like an emotional Hoover Dam. Perhaps we have begun to idolize some predetermined expectation of our work. Or maybe we’ve grown generally fatigued in our busyness. Or, instead of being intrinsically motivated, perhaps we feel uninspiring expectations from faceless masses of critics just standing there with their arms crossed, daring us to impress them.

So how do you break through the block?

I remember Bono saying something in an interview about how, for him, the key to overcoming writer’s block is to write songs about writer’s block. The suggestion is that in whatever media you create, whenever you feel blocked, just express what it feels like to be blocked.

In other words, you create from where you are, not from where you want to be.

It’s that concept, familiar to all creatives, that is at once both comforting and maddening… honesty. A block in creativity seems to come from having a subconscious edit button for some yet unexplored reason. An author I know refers to the “Censor”. We might have slowly given into expectations about what we should be creating. My counselor friends call that “shoulding on yourself.”

What if the experience of writer’s block is actually a blessing in disguise because it is an invitation to ask yourself, “What are you editing? What are you censoring? And why are you editing or censoring?” An even more probing question is, “Why are you blocking what is already in you?” As you perform the potentially gruesome soul surgery of answering those questions, your best work will spring from what is actually going on deep in your gut and not what you think you should be creating in your head.

Writer’s block is a flashing neon sign imploring you and me to be honest with ourselves.

If you’re experiencing a creativity block, here are some questions to explore…

  • What does it feel like to have writer’s block?
  • What great writers are known to have struggled with writer’s block?
  • What causes writer’s block?
  • What role do fatigue and depression play in writer’s block?
  • Do you have an overactive edit button? Why are you editing? Why are you censoring? What are you afraid of? Who are you trying to please?
  • What would it look like to be honest about how you feel and why?

Writer’s block is an invitation to get honest with yourself and explore what is really going on deeper within you. And yes, ironically, once you give up trying to create something awesome, that thing you create out of that vulnerable honesty will be what is celebrated as super cool and profound and mind-blowing. It is your honesty that will inspire others who, just like you and me, know deep down that they need to stop trying so hard and just be honest with themselves.