It’s a week later, and I’m still thinking about Joseph. I’m not sure I could have handled all that moving from place to place and starting over with nothing like he did. I mean, there were so many unsettling and uncomfortable moments Joseph and his family had to face. But, Joseph saw God do amazing things because he was able to look past his current needs and allow God to run the show.
It sounds easy, but my control issues cringe at the thought of doing the same.
My wife, Anna, and I are stepping into the foster care fiasco here in Charleston, and while we were in training on how to become foster parents and the best way to welcome these children into our home, we were reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. this is a triangle model showing the five categories of needs as developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. From the bottom of the triangle upwards, the needs are listed as: Physiological, Safety, Love & Belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization.
It’s like a staircase that begins with basic survival and leads to Godly enlightenment.
Maslow stated that in order to move to the next level of need, a person must have their current need satisfied to a certain extent. I started thinking about how this hierarchy works in my own life, within my family, and even in my community, and I saw a pattern. Right after Esteem and right before Self-actualization seems to be an additional level that most of us seem to hang out on, and that level is…COMFORT.
Like this………… (no judging these art skills, please)
Do you remember the old Atari game, Pitfall?
Well, this newly added “Comfort” step is like the quicksand boards of Pitfall. You just get sucked in. For those of us living in the middle/upper class of America, we work so hard to have comfort that we often take for granted the comforts we already have stockpiled. Then we slowly sink down into our big, comfy couches and watch other people have adventures on our massive TV’s, all while wondering when God will show us what He wants for our lives. It’s quicksand, I tell you.
We’ve got to plow through the deception of being comfortable to achieve being comforted by God! The sixth level of Maslow’s hierarchy is Self-Actualization. This level is where we work on personal growth and when we look at this level through God’s eyes, this is where we can see our God-sized potential! Growth is tough, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, but I’m starting to believe that the Christian life was never supposed to be comfortable or easy.
Striving to be COMFORTABLE sounds like this…
- I have to work more and rest less. How else will these bills ever get paid?
- I would like to tithe, but I don’t have any extra money right now.
- I would love to join a small group, but I just don’t have the time.
- If I tell them the whole truth, I could lose the contract, and I need this job.
- I would like to volunteer, but we’re just too busy right now.
Many of us look at the possibility of being uncomfortable in order to gain the supernatural comfort of God as too hard or risky. It is easy to believe that the cost of trading the person we have built ourselves up to be in exchange for the person God wants us to be is too high a price. However when we chose to be comforted by Him and The Truth, when we step into tough situations with His love and kindness, God loves it! He cheers for us! Even though we may not always get it right, or we make a mess out of things, He is in. He is there to care for and comfort us.
Striving to be COMFORTED BY GOD sounds like this…
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17
Joseph didn’t have much to cling to except God, and in turn, he got everything he needed. When we cling to being comfortable over growth with God, we get mediocrity instead. Nobody has every celebrated and reveled in mediocrity. You don’t have to either. He is waiting, Cheering!
What is one thing that would be easy for you to give up in exchange for His acceptance and comfort?
What would be the hardest to give over to God in exchange for the supernatural?
In His Service and at yours! ~Shawn