Trusting God for Wants and Needs

Trusting God for Wants and Needs

When my husband and I visited a mall with a friend, our five-year-old daughter, Tyler Marie, instantly spied a stuffed deer in the toy shop window. She led me by the hand into the store, picked up the cute animal with huge eyes and soft brown fur, and asked us to buy it. “I really need this deer, Mommy, because I don’t have a deer.”

“But you have lots of stuffed animals,” I responded.

“But I don’t have a deer. I’ve never had a deer in my whole life. Can we please buy him? Pleeease?”

My husband reminded our little shopper, “Honey, remember the stuffed dog we bought? There’s no money left in the toy budget.”

While we searched for a birthday gift we needed, our persistent little one occasionally circled back to the deer. Exasperated at our lack of cooperation, she tried one additional tactic.

She held the deer in front of us and cued up instant little-girl drama. “Just look at his sad eyes, Daddy. The little deer needs me. He’s very lonely.”

We’d transitioned from a five-year-old’s “need” to that of a stuffed animal. (Imagine parental eye-rolling.)

We stifled laughter, and my friend whispered to my husband, “Pleeease, could I buy the deer for her? I haven’t spent my stuffed animal budget.”

I’ll end the story by saying Tyler Marie smiled all the way to the car, and the little stuffed deer was never lonely again. In fact, he now lives … happily ever after … in Tyler’s daughter’s room.

The memory of our shopping trip prompted me to consider my wants and needs. I may not employ drama like my young daughter did or beg for material things, but I sometimes confuse wants and needs.

And I must admit … I may have pouted a time or two when I couldn’t get something I wanted or thought I needed. May have? Okay, I have. My wants sometimes cloud my view of God’s blessings and tempt me to classify my desires as needs.

Our Needs

In the Sermon on the Mount, after Jesus reminded His followers of God’s provision for the birds and the lilies, He said,

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Matthew 6:31-32 ESV
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is trust-1418901__480.jpg

We can trust our heavenly Father to know all our needs, as well as the deep desires of our hearts and the fears that threaten to sidetrack our faith. Rising costs, world affairs, health concerns or healthcare costs, savings account balances, family squabbles, broken relationships, wayward children …

He knows.

 Once we surrender our lives to Jesus and receive the gift of salvation, we enter God’s kingdom and have the assurance of His provision for our needs. Our loving Father knows what they are, and He meets them.

Once we surrender our lives to Jesus and receive the gift of salvation, we enter God’s kingdom and have the assurance of His provision for our needs. Click To Tweet

Jesus tells us how to view needs.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:33-34 ESV

Our Wants

We understand, as God’s children, we can trust Him to meet our needs. But what about the wants, the “stuffed deer” we fall in love with? What about our dreams or how they will make us happier, or our lives more convenient or beautiful or pleasant?

Is it wrong to satisfy our wants with useful or pretty things to make life easier or to beautify our homes? To take a trip or enjoy a hobby? I don’t think so.

The problem arises when we confuse needs and wants, insist on our own way, refuse to give, and focus more on our gifts than the Giver. How can we view wants and needs and blessings in ways that honor God?

As always, thought transformation begins with Him. Consider this verse:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 ESV

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we will praise Him and seek Him. We will give to others from a grateful heart. We will desire His way above our way, and our eyes will focus on Him.

When we delight in our loving God, our desires align with those in His heart. As with needs, we can trust our wants to Him, too. He will grant the desires of our heart when they match His because He longs for us to honor Him, and He delights in blessing us.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we will praise Him and seek Him. Click To Tweet

Perhaps printing Matthew 6:31-32 and Psalm 37:4 on a card will help us when we confuse needs or wants or when doubts and fears knock on our hearts’ doors. We can trust God to provide our needs and align our desires with His desires for us. Our needs and wants are safe in His hands.

Does it brighten your day to think about delighting in the Lord? How do you distinguish between needs and wants? How has God changed your heart? I hope you’ll join the conversation in the comment section.

Here’s an excellent post about trusting God by Debbie W. Wilson on her site,

Is It Wise to Trust God with Your Problems? by Debbie W. Wilson

Please feel free to share this post!

35 thoughts on “Trusting God for Wants and Needs

  1. Ah, yes, I learn so much about my relationship as a child of God through my parenting. My children would do something, and I’d correct them, and then I’d hear, yes, Elizabeth. And what about you with Me?
    And this want/need lesson seemed to come up a lot. (*sigh*) Thank you for sharing the deer and its sad eyes.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Elizabeth, I also learned lessons through my children, and I still do through grandchildren. I know what you mean about hearing God’s voice in situations like that. How kind of God to teach us in so many different ways. I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. Blessings.

  2. Thank you, Jeannie, for the encouraging word to continue delighting myself in the Lord. I trust Him for all of my needs and wants.
    Blessings, Norma

  3. I appreciate your comment so much, Norma. Thank you. Yes, He is worthy of our trust.

  4. I am thankful to go to God and share conversation with Him. He listens and hears our prayers. Yes, I find delight in Him. 🙂

  5. Isn’t it amazing how often so many of us use our “worldly eyes” in our lives? I too have confused a want for a need. And yes, God has proven time and time again that He listens and meets our needs. We can trust Him as He is a proven provider. Our on-time, every-time, all-the-time God. Amen my friend. Loved this encouraging post.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J.D., I loved your statement–“Our on-time, every-time, all-the-time God.” I agree! We can always trust Him. I’m grateful He continues to point out errant thinking and clarify our confusion. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing faithfully.

  6. Your story brought me a smile and some memories. But especially, your message reminds me that I have often confused wants with needs and it usually didn’t turn out very good. Thank you for this inspiring message and sharing scripture that shows us who and what is really important.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, isn’t it easy for us to confuse wants and needs? Like you, I recall instances when the outcome wasn’t good. I’m grateful God continues to teach us to delight in Him. I also enjoyed reviewing familiar verses that help us keep our focus on God. Thank you so much for commenting.

  7. A personal spiritual goal has been to learn how to be content in all situations, as Paul so beautifully illustrated from a prison cell. It’s not easy and I struggle with it.

    When I was younger, I desired a certain car. I knew my desire was not right for a lot of reasons , but still I longed for that car. I finally asked God to take away the desire and He did.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Candyce, I struggle with that, too. It seems to come easier for my husband. Thank you for sharing a personal example of God’s faithful guidance. I’m thankful He continues to teach us, and I’m sure you are as well. I appreciate you joining the conversation.

  8. You always speak to my heart!
    I have been struggling with this; my desire for awhile has been to no longer be alone on earth, but God is teaching me (and sometimes painfully because I am a slow learner) that His plan for me to remain alone is what is best for me…

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Connie, isn’t God kind to allow us to encourage each other? I imagine your struggle is painful, but I know your desire is to please God and to be content with His plan. I think you handle that far better than I. I’m thankful He loves us so much and continues to patiently teach us. Like you, I’m a slow learner sometimes with spiritual lessons. Your comments mean so much. Thank you.

  9. I loved the story of the little deer. There’s a song I’ve heard that says “His Way is Higher Than Mine.” This is true…He knows what we want and what we need. He will make the decision for us!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Jan, I don’t know that song, but I’ll look it up. I love the title which is true. You’re right that God knows our needs and will always care for us in unimaginable ways. Thank you so much for your comments. They mean a lot.

  10. Such a wonderful reminder that our God will provide. Isn’t it interesting that even our children at very young ages understand the difference in want and need? If we consider it a need it seems to take on more of a necessary aspect. 2 Peter 1:3 assures us that we have been given everything we need for a godly life. Puts it in perspective!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Jana, how right you are that 2 Peter 1:3 gives us God’s perspective. Thank you for including that. I’m thankful God continues to teach us even when we confuse wants and needs. Your comments mean so much. Thank you very much.

  11. Thank you for this sweet and convicting message. Amazing how we learn so much about ourselves from children

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Marilyn, and I appreciate you letting me know. Yes, we do learn a lot from children. God patiently teaches us in many creative ways, doesn’t He?

  12. I love this! It reminded me of an old gospel song, “My Jesus Knows Just What I Need”. He’s never failed to supply my needs, therefore, I shall not want. Thank you for the scriptures.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Debbie, I’m thankful you included that song title to which we can say, “Amen.” The verses I used are familiar ones, but rereading them reminds me of God’s faithfulness and how wonderful it is to delight in Him. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  13. I love how these two Scriptures uphold each other. When we surrender to the Lord and make His desires our desires then our wants are supplied along with every need we have. God is a faithful Father and He loves us much more than we can comprehend. He will not leave us lonely or destitute. What better riches can we have than to delight in Him. Thanks for sharing, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Yes, Barbara, God is a faithful Father, and I agree we can’t comprehend His love. I want to explore the idea of delighting in Him more. Thank you for sharing a comment, Barbara.

  14. Evelyn Mason Wells

    Jeannie, I can just see those beautiful eyes advocating for that needy deer! It is interesting how we confuse wants with needs. Thanks. I needed this reminder!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I also need the reminder, Evelyn. We still laugh about the deer who “needed” our daughter. Thank you very much for adding your thoughts. Blessings to you.

  15. I love this story, Jeannie, especially the ending where she got the deer. God is so good! I have a teenager now who expresses many “needs,” and it makes me think more about my own differentiation between needs and wants.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Annie. Thanks for telling me. Isn’t it interesting how our definitions of wants and needs change as we get older? I need to evaluate my list periodically, too and ask God to guide my thinking.

  16. Such a sweet story to teach a big lesson about the difference between wants and needs! I’m so glad the little deer still has someone to love him! Thank you for your insights, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Kathy, thank you for your kind words. I smile each time I see that deer on my granddaughter’s bed. 🙂 I think this differentiation in wants and needs is an area we all have to reevaluate from time to time, don’t you, Kathy?

  17. I was never more keenly aware of the difference between wants and needs than when I visited Africa in 2016. Most of the people I met there were doing everything in their power to secure the basic necessities to make it through the day. Their daily existence was very different from mine. Like you, I don’t think it’s wrong to want things, but sometimes when I feel dissatisfaction begin to creep in because I don’t have something I want, I remember Africa and know that I have enough.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Terri, I’m so glad you shared based on your experience in Africa. We all need pictures in our hearts of those who suffer without basic needs, don’t we? Your comments reminded me of our son when he returned from a mission trip to Central America. He struggled to enjoy blessings here when he reflected on the people he served there, but he eventually learned balance. I think we can be thankful for our blessings, pray and serve those in need, and remember to balance needs and wants. Thank you so much for sharing, Terri.

  18. Such a cute story to relay such a powerful and important truth.
    Love this, “She held the deer in front of us and cued up instant little-girl drama.” With two daughters, I can definitely relate.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Dawn. It’s one of my fondest memories of my daughter’s childhood. I’m sure you can relate as the mother of two daughters.Thanks so much for stopping by the site.

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