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.
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
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 …
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
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.
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.