rebelling against low expectations

It’s Okay to Be Needy


Have you ever wrestled with God about something?

I have. And thankfully, I didn’t win.

One November morning my devotional time started off simply enough with reading my Bible and praying for a variety of things — but then I felt prompted to pray about a topic that I had altogether been avoiding with God: my college education.

Since my freshman year of high school, I had decided on the college that I wanted to attend. But towards the beginning of my senior year (when those thoughts and anticipations became a reality) I began to realize that God had a different plan…and I didn’t agree with it.

I had nothing in common with the college God was gently pushing me towards. I wasn’t attracted to the huge campus, the wild parties that were scheduled to occur every weekend, or the likeliness that I would be a minority by faith among my peers.

“God, isn’t there strength in numbers? Don’t you want me to find fellowship with other believers? I think my faith could be strengthened anywhere but a secular state school!”

With these questions in mind, I set out to prove God wrong with His own word — and thankfully, my plan failed.

I began my search by looking up the different contexts in the Bible for the term “fellowship.” After reading a few verses about how fellowship with other believers is awesome and encouraged, my attention was completely captured by 1 Corinthians 1:9:

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is faithful. Don’t those words just fill you with peace?

And the rest of the verse continues as a great reminder of how close Christ wants us to Him — He wants us to be closer to Him than any human on this earth, because He knows that the more time we spend with Him, the more we will become like Him.

I was losing my battle quicker than I had expected, but I wasn’t completely confident in His plan yet. As I continued to think about all of the possible temptations and uncomfortable situations that could await me at this university, I delivered my final argument,

“But God, then I’m going to need you more!”

And instantly, a gentle, but clear voice in my heart said, “Daughter, why is that a bad thing?”

Since that day, every time I find myself too comfortable or I try to do something independent of God’s guidance and provision, I hear that same question ring in my ears.

Neediness in our culture is looked down upon, and yet it is the necessary diagnosis in order to receive a closer relationship with Christ.

If we turn to anything but Christ in order to satisfy our needs, we are committing idolatry.

I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that I am currently attending the university of God’s choice (and eventually it became mine too). And yes, I am more aware of my need for Him now than any other time in my life.

I’m okay with feeling lonely and uncomfortable and sad sometimes, because in order to know Christ better, I need to know Him as my constant companion and foundation. I’m okay with being confronted by my sin and temptations because then I become even more aware of Christ’s righteousness and grace.

Another thing — have you ever prayed to God about the same thing over and over again? If so, I can relate and so can the Apostle Paul! In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about “the thorn in his side” and how “three times (he) pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave (him).” And what did God say to him?

“My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect through weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Likewise, during this season of my life I have also found myself praying about “the thorn in my side” repeatedly. At one point, I found myself asking, “God, don’t you get tired of me praying about this? Wouldn’t it be best for it to just… go away?”

“Daughter, I never get tired of you needing Me.”

What more is there left to say? Let us learn to rejoice in our need for Him and embrace our dependent design!

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Anna Baker

is an 18-year-old “Cyclone” at Iowa State University and is confidently “undeclared” for the time being. She loves to run, bike, read, and write and she hopes to someday submit her interests and abilities to God’s work overseas. Her favorite verses are Colossians 3:1-3, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is. Set your mind on the things above, not on things of this Earth for you have died and your life is hidden in Christ, with God.”


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  • This article is great! It couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m wrestling with college decisions right now and it’s brutal. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Thanks Anna! I’m currently in the process of college application… but I’m still not sure exactly where I’m going to go. This was a wonderful encouragement!

  • Other then the fact that I first read this as “It’s okay to be nerdy”, this was really good and helpful. Thanks!

  • @Anna Baker Your story really resonates with me. I’m currently a senior in high school and I know what Bible College I’m going to after I graduate, but… about 2 years ago, I had everything planned out, where I was going for Bible College, Nursing school, etc. Then my family moved to Oklahoma. I knew there is a really good Bible College in OKC, but I still wanted to go to the College in California. At the time both of my older siblings were in the same boat and I watched them struggle with the obvious call to go there instead of the College all three of us had planned on going to for years.
    Finally, my siblings accepted that God wanted them to attend the Bible College in OKC and they are now Sophomores there. While all three of us are content with the decision to attend Bible College here in Oklahoma, I know that we all still would like to attend the Bible College in California. God is faithful, though, and I know this is His will for my life. BTW, Not only has God changed my direction for where I plan to attend Bible College, but also Nursing School, though I’m still praying about where to go.

    • I’m so glad you could find encouragement in this! Keep praying about it and I hope all goes well for you as you process college decisions!

  • This is beautiful, Anna! Thank you for your amazing words! Right now, the very thought of college stresses me out! I’m a high school senior, have visited a few colleges, and now the reality is beginning to hit and I still don’t know where God wants me! Does He want me to go to college? To take a year off? Or does He have an entirely different plan for me?
    Your words reminded me that He has a predestined plan just for me and I simply have to rest in the fact that He has it all figured out. And sometimes, it’s okay to let our own dreams go because God always has His own, bigger, PERFECT dreams in store! Thank you again! 🙂

  • @AnnaB1097:disqus How did you know that God was leading you toward that particular school?

    I’m in a similar situation and am looking for guidance on how to proceed. 🙂

    • Sorry, I just now saw this and hopefully I’m not too late! Mostly, it was either a state school or a faith based school and I began having some convictions about going to a faith-based school (not saying that Christian colleges are bad but if you want to be active in living out the gospel for non-believers, public school is the place to be!) also, I kept asking God to provide for my college education and He was, but I ignored it at first because He wasn’t providing for the college that I wanted to go to. After visiting the college I attend now, I left with zero doubts or questions (PEACE!) unlike previous college visits. I hope this was helpful!

  • I’m not yet old enough to relate to the college part very much, but this article still helped me a lot. I do agree, we tend to see needing other people (and God) as a bad thing, when it really isn’t. We were created for INTERdependence, not INdependence.
    Thanks so much for writing this!

By Anna Baker
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →