With Lent just around the corner, needing to spend some time contemplating the difference between my needs and wants was already a recurrent thought in my head over recent days, but the fortune cookie i opened after a meal this week compounded that which was already, and necessarily, at the forefront of my mind.
Y’know, this Simple living kick i am on right now is about so much more than bulk buying baked beans and toilet tissue, it’s about the assessment of one’s personal situation and paring down, cutting out the wasting dead areas of our lives and allowing the things of benefit to grow, without the hindrance of the uneccessary sapping us dry physically, economically and (more importantly) spiritually.
So this isn’t a post on frugality per se, because being spiritually unfed is always going to be far more detrimental to the soul than being physically unfed could ever harm the body, but if it is about frugality, then it is about frugality of spirit or poverty of spirit because frugality isn’t about doing without or negativity… although it is often misinterpretted in that way, it is always about enrichment of self and family and to my mind, just as importantly (if not more so), it’s about enrichment of the spirit.
The question, as printed in my fortune cookie above, asks, ‘Do you always need what you want?’
What a question that is.
If i only lived by fulfillment of need I would require only food and water, shelter and love to survive. But how much more than food and water and shelter and love do I have in my life!
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs outlines the basic needs of man, and yet we all of us want more than we need, do we not? Maslow theory, to my knowledge, does not specifically list ‘God’ as being a ‘necessary need’, but i would imagine that perhaps he may relegate God to a category such as ‘the need for love and belonging’. I may be wrong about that.
There’s no doubt that we all need to love and be loved and also that we need to feel we belong, whether that be in social situations, in church, in our family, school, work etc.
But i also believe that a ‘God-shaped hole’ exists in the heart and soul of all men from the time of conception….and that it can’t be filled by food alone , nor drink, nor shelter, nor any other person in this entire world, but God (though how i have tried).
What i need this Lent (and for always) is more of God and less of me in my life…. or in the words of Scripture…
“He must increase, but I must decrease” ~ John 3:30
I’m not going to lie and say that this is as much want as it is need, because the truth is, it isn’t.
My soul knows i need more God in my life and less of myself, but my flesh wants more of me and less of Him and my flesh is in a daily battle to seek fulfilment in sin and other distractions, rather than in Him.
Last night, i was prompted by the Holy Spirit to read a chapter of Hebrews, it was when i read the following that i understood that God is wanting me to know that it is He alone who fulfills all my needs, that trusting He will provide and allowing Him to show me my need of Him, is all that God requires of me.
He will meet all my needs and more, and elightens me to the awareness that most of my wants come from the flesh of me.
The KJV Bible passage read like this:
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
Paring down who i am, down to the very bare bones of me (no self deprecation here, though i am tempted), means seeing myself as I truly am. It’s a scary prospect that i neither relish nor look forward to, because when God shows me who i am, it is this knowledge that has so often driven me to a place so far away from Him and into overindulgence of self, in an attempt to block out the vileness that exists within me.
No, it is not something i look forward to at all but i know that i must do it.
So this will be my commitment for Lent.
To see the real me.
Not as you see me.
Not as i see myself.
But as God sees me.
Not through eyes that disparage my lack of self control and stench of sin.
But through God’s eyes.
Oh yes, i think that must be the hardest of all things to do when one is so unused to loving oneself.