Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast Paslm 139:7-10 (NIV)
If you have taken any psychology or marketing classes, you know about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Using the stories of influential people of his era, in 1943, Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called, “The Theory of Human Motivation.” He listed four levels of needs that must be met before a person can reach a stage called “Self Actualization,” where they develop morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of others. Most times they are portrayed, these five levels of development are listed in a pyramid with self actualization at the top. From the bottom up, the other needs are: physiological, safety, love and belonging and esteem. The physiological needs are the ones that humans must have to live: water, food, and air. While some people have criticized Maslow for his research techniques and simplification of people’s desires, his theory is widespread and has been absorbed in a lot of current teaching about human beings. Maybe that is why I thought of him when I was searching for a post topic and found myself relating to food for the fourth time this week! This has been such a hectic, exhausting time, that I have sunk to the point that all I can think about is my basic needs, eat and sleep. With a grant application due today, the beginning of Heritage Days on Monday, two evening meetings and two weekend historical events, I have had little time to do anything but go to the office early, work through lunch, rush home to fix dinner and race back out again. I am dead tired when I go to bed, but often wake up about 1:00 to make lists in my mind of the next day’s tasks. In the middle of it all, family life goes on. Husband and youngest son drove to Daytona last night for motorcycle races, then, came back home about 2:00 AM so husband could go to work today. I slept well until he dropped his heavy ring of keys on his dresser and started talking to the dogs. They left again tonight and will not be back until Sunday. Upon their return, youngest son has two applications to fill out. One for a mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti that leaves in two weeks. The other for a firefighter job in a nearby municipality. Another test! Every time I think about both possibilities, I have to take a deep breath and remember, Who is in charge and Who has everything under His control. That’s the interesting thing to me about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. While I agree that you can’t talk to people about important things like God when their bellies are empty and their bodies cold and tired, what “self actualization” I possess comes from my belief in God. Safety, love, belonging and esteem, even the fulfillment of my physical needs are all provided by His Hand. Even though sometimes, in the middle of the night, my racing brain forgets to trust.