When our boys were little, they believed that I could fix anything. They would bring a broken toy to me and stand there until I fixed it. Sometimes they could hardly bear to let go of the toy long enough for me to fix it.
If glue was required, they couldn’t wait long enough for the glue to dry before attempting to play with the toy again. It was frustrating at times.
That is how many of us bring our concerns and requests to God. We are often so personally invested in the turmoil of brokenness that we can’t let go of it long enough to experience the fix, if we ever let go at all.
Most of our worries, or our brokenness, stem from our perception of needs.
St. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, “… your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8b, NRSV).
That is a sobering thought; that God already knows what we need. What we ask for is what we want. That may not be what is best for us, or what we need, that is, what we really need. The question is, how do we know what we really need?
Abraham Maslow developed his theory of the hierarchy of human needs in 1943. According to Maslow, our “Basic Needs” include Physiological Needs (food, water, warmth, rest) and Safety Needs (security, safety), and are primary for survival.
Our “Psychological Needs” (intimate relationships, love, and self-esteem) are secondary in importance. This is where we find our place in the world. Third are our “Self-Fulfillment Needs” (creativity, reaching your full potential). This is where we find who we were created to be.
Meeting the first two sets of needs (Physiological & Psychological) consume the greatest amount of our time. So much so that the third level (Self-Fulfillment) often goes by the wayside.
This is one cause of physical and psychological burn-out. If time for self-fulfillment is denied long enough, the mind and body will begin to atrophy (in a figure of speech).
Why do some people who are the same age feel older than others? Perhaps it is, in part, due to the level of self-fulfillment an individual is experiencing.
If we allow ourselves to be totally consumed with the lower two levels of needs, and ignore the third level, we are stunting our personal growth and wasting our potential.
How are we to know what our potential is? By looking to our creator. Each of us have been given specific “gifts” for this life. Some individuals never notice their gifts and talents or have been too afraid to pursue self-fulfillment.
Self-fulfillment does not mean fulfillment-without-God, or fulfillment-in-opposition-to-God. It does mean making the most of what God made you to be.
To find your way, go back to the beginning. To find your gifts, go back to God. To find higher power, go to the Source of all power.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at noon on Thursdays and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.