Whatcha really need

My beagle-basset stares up at me with longing in her little face. She’s got her eyes on a piece of chocolate I’m about to pop into my mouth. I shake my finger, “That’s what you think you need but it’s not what’s best for you.” She’s not persuaded. And I don’t blame her. Where have I seen that look of longing before? Oh, yes, in the mirror.

We have strong thoughts about what we need.

And others have strong thoughts about what they need from us too.

Confession: that leads to one of my greatest struggles. I love to give people what they think they need. It makes them happy. Which makes me happy. I like to see a human smile even more than I like to see my crazy pup wag her tail {well, it might be close to a tie sometimes}.

When I can’t give people what they’re asking of me I feel terrible. And, even more, I feel selfish. Who am I to say no? Isn’t love all about giving people what they need?

Well, it turns out that’s not quite true.

You’ve probably heard the story about the loaves and fish. Here’s the scoop: Jesus has been teaching and the people are getting hungry. In a miracle, He multiplies the loaves and fish so everyone is full. Yay!

That’s where the Sunday School version stops but it’s not the end of the story. The people show up again and Jesus says to them, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”

In other words, that crowd was looking at Jesus the way my beagle-basset looks at me when she’s hoping for a hand out. But Jesus knows that this time around if He fills their stomachs their hearts will go away empty. So He tells them about how He’s the real bread of life.

To make a long story short, the crowd doesn’t like it, most of those following Jesus leave and to top it all off He mentions that even one of the remaining twelve disciples will betray Him. Huh. Why in the world would He do that instead of just whipping up more ancient times happy meals?

Because love looks past the “need” to the real hunger of the heart.

People will ask you to do a lot of things for them.

You will ask people to do a lot of things for you.

And sometimes the most loving answer is not a yes.

Love means having the courage to say–I will not give you what you want from me; I will give you something even better. Something so deep within your heart that you may not even know it’s what you really need most.

I toss my dog a milkbone. She wags her tail and runs off with glee to drool on the carpet. If only it were always that easy, I think to myself.

But love isn’t about easy. It’s about what’s truly best.

Let’s bravely never settle for giving {and receiving} anything less.


  1. karyn says

    love your dog, yes, we have to learn to accept each other’s nos, so important, I’ll not go into detail, no is good, very good,

  2. Ana says


    I loved your post today and I had to repeat your words,

    “Love means having the courage to say–I will not give you what you want from me; I will give you something even better. Something so deep within your heart that you may not even know it’s what you really need most.”

    You hit my heart every time with your insight and with your words and for that I am so blessed that you can share your heart with us.

    Loved it, loved it!

    May the Lord Jesus truly bless you!

  3. tina says

    I knew I felt a connection with you! I have a beagle basset as well…they are called bagels!
    Love your writing…and your wisdom.

  4. Michele says

    Holley –
    So many times your messages are really great and speak to me and/or the universal truth. But this week you’ve hit it out the park. Three of your messages have felt as if they were specially written and sent to me through you from my Heavenly Father. Thank you for feeding so many of us.
    Hoping you get a double portion of God’s blessing this week. Big hug to you.

  5. Linda says

    Hi Holley,

    Wow — you truly spoke to my heart! I needed to hear those words more than you know!
    I love reading your messages as I am always encouraged!

    Thank you and God bless you,

  6. Patty says

    Thank you…………true love is being led by the Holy Spirit, and He doesn’t always say yes! Part of our “growing up” in Him is being obedient with a healthy attitude when He says No.

  7. Cathy says

    After a long week of severe “family drama”…this post was the answer to my prayers. Thank you so very much and I have just printed this out to share with my family in a loving way!

  8. Pam Long says

    Holley, thanks for that today, honey. You were so greatly used by the Father to tell me just what all this is I’m going through right now. Perfect timing – as always!

    Love you, precious girl and thank you for being obedient to write it down.

  9. Dorothy says

    You mentioned the Lord feeding the multitude… and I am amazed that after this great miracle, the disciples went back to their previousway of thinking —- non-victorious, lack thinking…..Mark 8:14: “Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.” They FORGOT to take bread! Had they not remembered what had just happened —- that 5,000 men and 5,000 women and probably more children were fed as the food multiplied in their hands!!!!!

    I love that God said, “Come let us reason together….” He wants us to not be limited by our natural thinking…and especially not by religious thinking…. but He wants to fellowship with us and teach us His Truth so that we can get revelation knowledge of what He is really like and who we are in Him because of His Perfect Finished Work….

  10. Holley says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, friends. I love to know your hearts and talk about these things together. You encourage me!

  11. Becky Jones says

    I love your “Bagel” she is so neat. We just lost a Pomerian to renal failure. Talking about your dog like chocholate: several years ago while we were living in CA I have to have a box of chocholate cover cherries and my husband does not love like I do. So I had eaten about 2 out of the box and left it sitting on a low table and went in the room and there was our Miniture Schanuzer eating them and they were all gone. She smelled like chocholate covered cherries. Lessons are sometime hard to learn even to say No. Love your blog.

  12. Debbie Ball says

    I love this, as I have trouble saying no, especially to my 3 rescue dogs and my family. As my husband is in the political arena. I am alone alot, and God is my ever faithful listener…I love your encouraging blogs!

  13. Martha says

    Much appreciation Holley for writing these words of truth. In recent months I have begun to acknowledge saying NO to others. Most importantly, the lesson learned is saying NO to myself! I always respond to friends with heart brimming over with love.. There IS a very fine line here.. My help come financially. Something happens to people when they realize you have money. It is UGLY greed. The person I thought I knew; become a person I do not want to know any longer.
    Breeding dependance is no good. It is a place of despair and confusion. God is not of confusion!
    This has been an arduous journey, and yes, I am still on this journey! Sometimes it just rips at my heart, but I will continue onward upward with Christ Jesus my Savior. He is my guide. He is my comforter.
    I am grateful to Lord Jesus to read and hear and ingest your words of truth and wisdom. God has such great plans for us! His timing is always perfect!

  14. says

    I have really enjoyed your website, particularly the things you have talked about regarding
    “community”. This current post you wrote I find somewhat difficult. How do you “really know” what someone needs. Maybe sometimes a person just needs a friend to talk to.
    Just because you don’t see that as their “true need” does not mean that it is not.

    • says

      I think that’s a legitimate concern, Nancy. We never truly know what someone needs–only God does. Thankfully, his Spirit lives within us and I believe if we ask to know the need then he’ll reveal it to us. And, like you said, we always need love! :)

  15. Laurie says

    Jesus being the break of life has never been more alive than it is in this moment, after reading your devotional. Thank you! I’m seeing with new eyse today.

  16. martha says

    Oh, ny goodness!!!! Just for me! I was supposed to be marrid Father’s Day of this year. Something so, well, I don’t have a word to describe it, crazy happened that defied all logic. I knew immediately that I needed to call off the engagement. 8 weeks before . I have been hurt, angry, that I had been wrongfully judged. However God has tenderly, and very clearly, let me know that HE closed the door. That is what I wanted, and what I thought I needed. But He knows best and said NO. Praise God for His leadership and His tender way to lead me. Thank you, Holley

  17. says

    You’ve probably heard the story about the loaves and fish. Here’s the scoop: Jesus has been teaching and the people are getting hungry. In a miracle, He multiplies the loaves and fish so everyone is full. Yay!

  18. Peggy says

    Thank you, Holley! You are always a blessing. I said “no” to some family members today, and it was very hard for them, and hard for me. Truth is they need to make changes for their own sake, and then they will not always be asking. Your words which I just read seemed to confirm that I made the right decision. God bless you!

  19. Elaine says

    Really appreciated this email. There are so many times I feel like not helping a person , giving him what he asks, but the Good Lord tells me, Elaine, you should help this person and I do.– not grudgingly, but with peace in my heart.

  20. Daniela says

    It is so true! Many times we do not know what is best for those who ask us something.
    Thank you, Holley.
    A huge hug from France.


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