As I contemplate the move, what I'm most aware of is our total neediness. We'll be arriving with worn-out clothes, bodies, and bank accounts. We'll stay with family, and mostly rely on them for food and transportation. We'll need a lot of emotional care and support as we process the transition and the past two years.
A couple years ago, if someone had called me "needy," it would have been the worst insult possible. I'd built my life around being independent, a giver, a worker. Like most Americans, I wanted people to need me, but I certainly didn't want to need anyone else. I didn't even like the idea of getting married, let alone getting married and going to live abroad on support (ha!), but somehow God convinced me to do it all.
And it changed everything.
I was watching this interview with Heidi Baker—a missionary to Mozambique and one of my heroes of faith—and she just smiled as she said, "I feel like the neediest person on the planet." She went on to talk about getting needy before God, being poor in spirit, and crying out for help from our Father. I felt like someone kicked me in the gut, it was so abhorrent to me to think about being needy. I just wanted God to work out our monthly support, make it all work smoothly. But that's not how life in Kosovo has gone. We've had to wait on God and trust in him a whole lot more than we'd like to.
It has, of course, been the best thing in the world for us.
Being needy has made us recognize our true relationship with God, which is absolute dependence. It's made us lean on our communities and actually let people help us, which (surprise!) people really like to do. It's made us realize that we cannot be totally self-sufficient, and even if we could, it would be a sad, isolate kind of life.
I know that neediness doesn't have the best reputation. Maybe you think about your needy ex-boyfriend or people who've been on welfare too long. But the truth of the matter is that we're all needy, in lots of ways. We need God for our very life and breath, the health of our bodies and spirits. We certainly need other people, particularly when our carefully-constructed lives crumble. Even if we're the hardest workers in the world, providing for ourselves all by ourselves, we still need good infrastructure and political stability to pull off our little one-man shows.
Everything we accomplish takes divine intervention and a village of support, whether we see it or not. And I, for one, see it now. I can't do a lot about being needy. I can't (in good conscience) deny God's call and go make a pile of money so that I never have to ask for anything again. But I can be thankful for the people who haven't begrudged me for asking. For those who have helped us, in big ways and small. For those who have upheld us, understood us, and encouraged us. Thank you all so, so much for letting us be the needy friends. I hope that, at some point, we'll get to bless you as much as you've blessed us.
Today, all I have to give is this advice: let yourself be needy. It's not as bad as you think. Really.