What do you do when you have what you need, but not what you want?
Or, when you don’t have something that you think you really need?
Here is what I do.
First, I turn to God.
I try to convince myself that God, in His infinite wisdom, must have decided that it isn’t something that I need at this point. If it were something that I truly need, here and now, I would have it now because He has always provided for me in His perfect timing. It has always been up to me to be patient and wait for it.
Next, I proceed to dissect the thing that I want and determine reasons why I do not need it.
In what ways could it be something that I don’t need?
In what ways has God already put the solution in front of me? What people or avenues are already there for me to satisfy me?
At some point in this process, I analyze it against Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
If the answer to the ‘CAN’ is yes, it then becomes a want, not a need.
But….you know, there is always the ‘BUT’ with me.
…what about the quality of life without it?
If it were only food, or clothing, or transportation, or even money…I easily rationalize and live without it. Or, find a means by which to acquire it.
Furthermore, the immediate result of living day to day without a certain type of food, or clothing, or even having to scrape by in terms of money, doesn’t make me sad.
It makes me only that much more determined: to work harder to endure, or to replenish. It is a tangible that I can negotiate, touch, acquire, and measure.
These types of needs have an immediate quality to them. Like looking at something that is close up through binoculars, it is difficult to get away from it…is always in front of you but you can grab onto it and manipulate it.
If, on the other hand, it is an element higher up in Maslow’s Hierarchy – love and belonging, esteem, or self-actualization – living without it might work, for a little while. These are ethereal, fleeting, and shifting. When I have a handle on them, I feel extremely happy and satisfied.
Unlike the tangible needs though, I can’t simply go to the store to purchase them when I run out of them. And, as much as I CAN make a decision to live without them, their absence in my life can reduce the quality of my days. They erode me, sadden me, drag me down.
I obviously need these things, as much as I try to convince myself that I can do without them. As strong as I am against them, they continue to create a void in me.
Inadvertently, I end up questioning myself, and then God. And I hate it when I question God. His will is perfect; His plan incontrovertible.
And that is when I have to pull myself out of the chasm, dust myself off and put my big girl panties back on, and look to Him. As I do that, I take a deep breath, focus my eyes on Him, and continue my journey.
A journey travelled alone, if that is the way it must be. I don’t have to like it; I only have to do it and continue to have hope that at some point down the road my wants and needs will converge with His plan for me.
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