The idea for this little blog has been a long time in coming to print.
My hope is to share my thoughts and ideas about God, the Bible, and what it means for me to be a follower of Jesus. It seemed appropriate to begin with a reflection on needs. I’ll break this first topic into four blog entries. Here we go…
Last night I was journaling with the radio gently playing in the background. During my musings I wondered if I had everything I needed to find rest. Ironically, in the background the Rolling Stones were singing “can’t always get what you want. The final line to the chorus was, “but you can get what you need.”
As a Christian my first thought was, of course, “that is simple, all I need is Christ.” This thought led me to wonder what the definition of “need” was. Marian Webster describes need as something that a person must have in order to live or succeed or be happy; a lack of a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism; and a condition requiring supply or relief.
Ah, physiological requirements for life. Well it seems our five basic survival needs according to Bear Gryllis and other survival experts are: 1) oxygen; 2) water; 3) food; 4) shelter and 5) sleep. Personally, I would rank sleep and rest as my number one need.
Before Bear’s top five physical needs, Abraham Maslov – a humantistic psychologist created hierarchical pyramid of metaphysical human needs in his 1943 scientific paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Going from lowest to highest they are: 1) physiological; 2) safety; 3) love / belonging; 4) esteem; 5) self-actualization.
The base of the pyramid is physiological need. This means our bodies require the “Bear” necessities food, drink, shelter, sleep, etc. in order to function. On a purely physical level these needs have the highest priority for our daily existence. Next in ascending order is safety, then the need to be loved and belong, then the need to be esteemed (to be assured we have value to other people). At the top is our need for fulfillment or need to grow and be challenged so that we can realize our full potential. Maslov described fulfillment this way: A musician must make music, the artist must paint, the poet must write, if they are to find peace with themselves. What a man can be, he must be. We have heard something similar to this saying when the US Army took that idea and turned it into a slogan, “Be all you can be, join the Army.” Maslov’s most most important need, the search for fulfillment is the force makes me restless and that drives me.
To be sure, I struggle with all the above: to get enough sleep and nourishment; to protect and keep my home and work place safe, to care for my family and neighbors, to belong, to speak the truth, to express my creative nature in a meaningful way and to explore my environment. Big surprise, most of the time I try to accomplish these things on my own, through my own strength or knowledge or will power. I think a lot of people walk that path with me. We are raised to be self-sufficient so it’s hard to ask for help or give some else the reins of control.
When we force ourselves to manage on our own we tend fail. Depending on our own wisdom and strength in times of need is a very human thing we all do. Job 14, reminds us that “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” By ourselves, we struggle and sometimes we end up the worse for our labor, with no rest and still failing to meet our needs. A good example of this is when several years ago my wife and I sold our first home. We were in a hurry to find another home and bought one we thought would fit our immediate needs. I personally don’t recall ever praying about the decision. The second week after we had moved into our new home, the basement flooded causing us problems for months. The house turned out to be a money pit of misery. It was a long time before we were able to enjoy any rest in that home. I truly believe if we had prayed about that our decision before we committed to purchase, we would have quietly received help from Jesus in making the right decision.
And so much like the Rolling Stones chorus we really didn’t get what we wanted but we did get what we needed. We got a place to live that initially wasn’t restful or peaceful and a solid reminder to always come before the Lord in prayer with any big decisions.
I’ll end with a short prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, you know all things - please direct me in my choices. I humbly confess I don’t always know what to do. Please show me your will through your Holy Spirit and help keep me on your paths. Amen.