Focus on THIS and Have Better Holidays!

Holiday Family using significance and security

This week I was invited to be a guest lecturer at Oral Robert’s University by my daughter who is a Professor in their Social Work department. I taught the students in her Intro To Counseling class about the deepest longings of the human soul: significance and security. It’s a teaching that has absolutely changed the course of my life and all my relationships.

There is a story where Jesus is speaking to a woman who is clearly broken in life. She is seeking to be loved but instead, finds herself being used by one man after another. Jesus meets her while getting water at a well and He says something that at first might seem very strange. He says: “you know if you drink from Me you will never thirst again!”

Huh?  Jesus is making reference to an idea that is true of all of us.

We are thirsty people and we move from one person or thing to another, to fill ourselves up and quench that thirst.

But what is it we are thirsty for? What is it that resides at the deepest levels of you and I that drives everything we do and say?

If you stop long enough and think, you would begin to say it is a desire for things like:









To know that you matter

To have impact


To know you have value

If I could boil them all down into two ideas, I would use the words: significance and security.

You and I desire to experience both. In reality, however, desire is not a strong enough word. It would be more accurate to use Jesus’ metaphor—that we thirst. We are in such great need of experiencing significance and security that we thirst for them. It is as if we need and require them to such a degree that we will do virtually anything to get those needs met.

When a man faces questions he doesn’t have answers to as a husband and father, he turns more to his work—which is easier to master—because he is so thirsty for significance. When a woman struggles in her connection with her husband, it is often more tempting to let down her guard and enjoy the perceived love from another man—because she is so thirsty for security. Often as we learn the history of killers and abusers in our country, it is not uncommon to hear of them having been abused and abandoned as children. In their emptiness, they strike out in an effort to feel significant and secure—albeit in the worst of ways.

When Jesus said to the woman “if you drink from me, you will never thirst again,” he was saying: “in your attempts to find love and security, you have had one failed relationship after another. I am asking you to follow me where you will experience a relationship like none other. I will love you unconditionally. My love will NEVER change, and therefore you will always be secure. Add to that, I am willing to give my life for you because of your supreme value. Yes, you are that significant in my eyes!”

Every one of us is in need of significance and security—just like this woman in the story. And Jesus offers each of us the same invitation as he did the woman when he says “follow me!”

How does this relate to communication and family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Great question!

Most of us are around more people than usual at the holidays. That time spent can be wonderful; it can also be hard and stressful. But if you remember what I have shared, you can make the upcoming holidays the best ones yet. Here’s how: keep in mind—EVERYONE wants to know they are significant and secure, right?

In your interactions with them, you have a choice: you can spend the bulk of your time seeking to meet YOUR NEEDS for significance and security by doing things like:

  • controlling the conversations to feel important;
  • or telling the best joke to have an impact;
  • OR by doing whatever you can to keep people at a distance, keep conversations shallow, or simply avoid interactions altogether to keep yourself secure.

On the other hand, you could stay focused on the idea that everyone around you is in need of feeling significant and secure like you and help meet that need in them. For instance, you could:

  • seek out that one who is quiet and engage her or him in conversation so they feel like they matter;
  • help out more with the cooking and cleaning so no one feels alone;
  • tell a young person or child you are proud of them for what they have accomplished or tell them of a character quality in them you appreciate, so they feel significant;
  • remember the PLEDGEtalk principles of listening well in conversation, echoing back what was said, and acknowledging your appreciation for them sharing—so they feel validated and genuinely cared for.

In short—you and I can focus more on getting own needs met during the Holidays or focus more on meeting the needs of others.

Adults and children alike, all long to know they are significant—that they matter; and they all long to know they are secure—that they are loved and wanted. Do what you can during the upcoming holidays to show those around you that they matter and you care for them. It just might make this season the best one yet!

Share this with one friend or family member to help them during their time with family too!

(Picture taken from: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_rawpixel’>rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)

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