Friday, December 27, 2013

Be grateful that your NEEDS are met. Be Hopeful that your WANTS can be too!

I am a firm believer that God always meets my needs. Perhaps not always my “wants”, but certainly my needs. Sometimes my needs are not met in the way that I would like them to be, but even in the hardest times…the times of unemployment and economic hardship, I always had food to eat, even if it came from the food bank or the dollar store, and a roof over my head, even though it leaked and it sometimes got so cold in the house in the winter that my living room curtains froze to the window. Even in the times of sadness, depression and grief when I felt isolated and alone, I always knew that there was someone, actually many, who would drop everything to come to my side if only I would call….or allow them to help. Things were very difficult for many years and because I focused more on those “WANTS” instead of being grateful that my “NEEDS” were met. I felt empty, alone, and sad.

Because I spent so much energy comparing myself….my circumstances….my life to those around me, I failed to recognize the many blessings that I had, and to give thanks that all my basic needs were met.  I felt inferior to others because I didn’t (still don’t) have the financial resources to take trips or drive new vehicles. I had virtually no self-esteem because I was so heavy and out-of-shape. I felt “useless” because I no longer had a job that was life-giving.  I felt  “left-out” because I chose the single life rather than to accept any of the marriage proposals I received. I felt sad because I was grieving the loss of loved ones and alone because I had pushed others away out of fear that they, too, would die or leave me. I so WANTED life to be different, but didn’t even imagine that it could ever be.  

So I turned to food. I tried to fill the void, the emptiness with something other than God. Food became the only way that I could escape the reality of my pain, both physical and emotional, and because we all NEED to eat, there was virtually no guilt involved. Perhaps your “drug of choice” is in the form of alcohol, a cigarette, the casino, pornography, shopping, or even nobler things like excessive “volunteering” or “religion.” Most addictive behavior stems from our attempt to fill an emptiness inside that cannot be filled with “things”, but rather only with God (or your source of spiritual strength/your higher power), or our desire to ‘forget” that our life is not perfect and that we don’t have everything that we “WANT”.

 I encourage you in the next few days….as you prepare yourself mentally and spiritually to begin the new year and to make a commitment (or renew the one that you have already made) to change your life, to take a few minutes to reflect on those NEEDS and WANTS. Make a list of those things that you truly need…..and also a list of those things that you WANT, those areas of your life that you WANT to be different. I am guessing that many…if not all….of your basic needs are met, and many of your “WANTS’ are things you could live happily without. Look at those needs….and make a resolution to be GRATEFUL….THANKFUL….HAPPY, because they are met, even if they are not met in the ways you’d like them to be.  Look at those WANTS….and decide which are truly the most important….and  what role you must play in making them a reality. If you WANT to take a vacation, what do you have to “give up” to save money to afford one?  If you WANT a new car, what can you do to increase your income (2nd job???). If you WANT world peace….how can you make your own world …your household, your place of employment, your family…more peaceful? IF you want a deeper relationship with God, what are you willing to do to nurture one (attend church, make quiet time?) If you want to meet new people…what can you do to become more social? If you WANT a better job, what do you have to do to update your skills….perhaps enroll in a college class (it’s not too late!)?

 And if you WANT to change your life…to become healthier and happier…to give up a habit or lose weight…WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO to make it happen?  What things…both physical like booze, junk food, cigarettes, and emotional, like negativity, ungratefulness, anger, fear of failure, unworthiness,  must you give up in order to have the desires of your heart? What behaviors must you change….and more importantly, ARE YOU READY TO DO SO?  FOR LIFE????

Look around you today….try to see the many ways that God meets your NEEDS each day; Be grateful for what you have and be HOPEFUL and CONFIDNENT that many of the things you WANT can become a reality with a combination of God-power and will-power!  YOU CAN DO IT!