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Wise vs. Wild Contrast #13: Neediness

Neediness

Who she depends on to fulfill her longings

Girl-Gone-Wild: Depends on Man
Girl-Gone-Wise: Depends on God

Girl-Gone-Wild: “So now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” Proverbs 7:15

Girl-Gone-Wise: She delights in the Lord, and He will give her her heart’s desires. Proverbs 37:4*


“He’s out with a terrible case of CGS.” That’s what my son’s 20 year-old neighborhood friend, Warren, said, dropping himself into a wing chair in the family room. Jonathan sighed and nodded his head knowingly, disappointed that their friend had to miss the evening’s planned activities.

“CGS?” I asked, alarmed, “What’s CGS?” It sounded like a terrible communicable disease. I had visions of their friend lying quarantined in a hospital room, hooked up to a respirator, with tubes sticking out from all over his body, surrounded by masked doctors and nurses talking in hushed tones. “Is it serious? Is he going to be okay?”

Warren looked at me with a deadpan expression and explained, “CGS-Clingy Girlfriend Syndrome-It is serious, and NO, he’s not okay. He’s suffocating to death.” I just about fell out of my chair laughing. I knew exactly what he was talking about. And so do you. Some women are so needy for attention and affirmation that they cling to men like plastic wrap to a piece of raw meat. The young man couldn’t come to his scheduled outing because his girlfriend didn’t want to spend the evening alone. She insisted that her needs take precedence over his wanting to spend time with his friends.

As the Proverbs 7 narrative unfolds, we see the woman expressing her ardent desire to be with the young man. She hopes and expects that he will come to her house and meet her needs. She’s spent the whole day preparing for this possibility. She says, “So now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” She strokes the young man’s ego by emphasizing his importance to her:

“I have come out to meet YOU, to seek YOU eagerly . . . YOU are the man of my dreams! YOU are so amazing, so strong, so handsome, so right for me! YOU are the only one who can help me! YOU are the one I’ve been waiting for! I’m so glad that I found YOU!” She puffs up the young man’s head to think that he is the only one who can rescue her from her loveless plight. He’s her knight in shining armor, her savior. But the truth is, her flattery has very little to do with him being sensational, and very much to do with her being needy. He is merely a means to a perceived end. She’s only interested in him because she thinks he will satisfy her desires.

A Girl-Gone-Wild looks to men to fulfill the deep longings of her heart. She relies on them for her sense of self-worth. She is needy and dependent. A Girl-Gone-Wise knows that no man on the face of earth could ever fill the God-shaped vacuum in her heart. She doesn’t depend on men for her sense of self. She delights in the Lord, and depends on Him to give her the desires of her heart.

To introduce a talk, I once showed the classic Walt Disney clip of Snow White singing, “Someday my Prince will Come” to a room full of college-aged girls. Their response was dramatic. Many raised arms in the air and shouted “Yes!” Some stood on their chairs with their hands clasped over their hearts. Some whooped. Some cheered. Some hollered. Some pretended to swoon. One or two had tears streaming down their cheeks.

The response when I showed the same clip to a room full of middle-aged women, several weeks later, could not have been more different. Most looked disinterested. Many laughed and sneered. Some rolled their eyeballs. Some shrugged a shoulder and went back to having conversations with their girlfriends. Not one woman pumped her arm and shouted, “Yes!” Not one.

The reactions were telling. The college girls had hearts filled with hope of meeting their prince charming and living happily ever after. They eagerly anticipated that marrying Mr. McDreamy would fulfill their desire. The middle-aged women had hearts filled with cynicism because their prince charming hadn’t delivered the happily ever after ending they had hoped for. Mr. McDreamy had turned into Mr. McDreary and Mr. McDumpy. They had the gut-wrenching suspicion that no one would ever meet the longings of their hearts. The nods, tears, and “yes’s” for these women came when I talked about the pain of disappointment. It’s not that their desire had died. It’s just that they were wearied and wounded for all the years of hoping and yearning. They were tired of trying to squeeze water out of a broken, empty cistern. They still hadn’t found what they’re looking for.

So what are we to make of all the longing? To quench their thirst, many women spin themselves around in endless circles of desire, dissipation, and disappointment. I think of my high school girlfriend, Michelle, who has experienced numerous failed relationships: two or three serious boyfriends, two common-law relationships, one broken engagement, and one failed marriage. When we had dinner several years ago, her desire and desperation had reached a frenzied level. This 40-year-old was dating and sleeping with 3 different guys at the same time. “I just wish I could find someone to love me,” she lamented, with eyes brim full of tears.

C.S. Lewis once said, “What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring.”2 He suggests that we can best describe the restless desire that exists in the human heart with the German word, “Sehnsucht.” My parents were German immigrants, and my first language was German, so let me try to explain the word. There really is no adequate English equivalent. It’s a quasi-mystical term that melds ardent inner longing or yearning (das Sehnen) with obsession or addiction (die Sucht). Sehnsucht is a deep, driven, inconsolable inner longing for something of monumental importance.

Sehnsucht compels us to reach for an ultimate answer that remains just beyond our reach. Some people experience it as a type of nostalgia, others as a type of homesickness. Others think that it’s a longing for someone they have not yet met, or something they have not yet attained. They think that if they only meet that “someone” or get that “something,” will their desire be satisfied. The majority of people who feel Sehnsucht are not conscious of who or what the longed for object might be.

King David knew. He said, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2) Sehnsucht is the deep, inner “panting” of our spirits for God. One philosopher called it the “God-shaped vacuum” of the soul. The human soul was made to enjoy something that is never fully given-that cannot even be imagined as given-in our present mode of existence. Sehnsucht is a longing for God that only God can fill, but cannot fill completely until we see Him face to face. Even the satisfaction and joy we can taste in His presence now is shot through with longing. It’s like a woman enthralled to hear the voice of a distant lover, but craving the moment he will hold her in his arms. Sehnsucht beckons and whispers, points and draw us to the time when we will finally be united with the lover and redeemer of our souls.

© Mary A. Kassian


This is a pre-publication excerpt from “Girls Gone Wise in a World gone Wild,” © Mary A. Kassian to be published by Moody Publishers in 2010. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not copy and/or reproduce this copyrighted material without express written permission of Moody Publishing.

About The Author

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian, the founder of Girls Gone Wise, is an award winning author, internationally renowned speaker, and distinguished professor of Women's Studies at Southern Baptist Seminary.

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