Empty Cup Made Full

As a child, I visited Chicago multiple times from my small hometown in Mississippi.  When I became an adult, I decided to come to live in the big city.  I left behind friends and family, and all the acquaintances of my hometown.  For a while everything was fine.  There was a sense of excitement being in one of the country’s largest cities.  I really enjoyed the variety of restaurants and food unique to Chicago that couldn’t be found anywhere near where I lived.  But then it got cold, and my tourism mentality came to a halt.  It was time to buckle down and see if I could make Chicago into my home.

The first thing that I needed was a new coat, a real coat, not just a jacket.  I had become accustomed to wearing rather light coats and wearing shoes throughout the winter instead boots.  This all changed when I experienced a -50 degrees Fahrenheit winter day.  Shortly after this experience I went shopping and bought the biggest coat I could find.  I didn’t care about how it looked, I just wanted to survive the harshest winter I had ever experienced.

Shortly before I left Mississippi, some of my friends told me that I would not last long in the big city, primarily because of all the violence they had heard about in Chicago.  Although my street IQ is probably very low, I recall no fears of violence while being out on my own, except when I took my first drive in the snow.  I remember doing a 360 in the middle of an avenue while driving home.  It was a scary experience, but fortunately the traffic was light at the time.  One more scare was getting lost while just going a few blocks from where I lived, somehow, finding myself downtown on Rush Street, no where near my intended destination.  Fortunately, I improved over time with my directions.

Perhaps my greatest challenge in adapting to being away from my hometown was making new friends.  Being a timid introvert made getting to know and befriend new people more than just a notion.  I began to question my decision to move away from the friends and family in Mississippi.  This challenge became so great that I remember praying to God to send a friend along, and He did; not just one friend but several, but there was one close friend that I knew was an answer to prayer.

I look back on these significant experiences as a reflection of God’s provisions in my life.  Eventually, I was able to fulfill a goal and interest that I felt strongly about prior to moving to Chicago as a permanent residence.  Studying psychology was a part of that interest. 

In Psychology, there is a popular theory called the Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow.  From the bottom of the hierarchy to the top he lists: physiological needs (like a coat for the winter), safety needs, love and belonging (friendships, intimacy, family, etc.), esteem needs (respect, feeling of accomplishment), and self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential).  As I look back on my life, I can see how each of these needs have been fulfilled or are at least in the process of being fulfilled.  I gladly give God the credit for fulfilling these needs in my life, especially the one for friendships and family.

To anyone reading this who maybe struggling to get some of these needs met, I recommend the following tips:

  • Appreciate the basic needs.  I don’t think I realized it at the time, but my most basic need was developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  When I almost immediately found that coat at a price I could afford, it was a miracle from God to me which boosted my prayer life.
  • Ask for what you need.  Of course, it is always good to ask God for what you need, but also of others, especially those who are close to us.  “…If we ask anything according to his will he hears us…”  1John 5:14. We can be confident that God will take care of our needs when we ask.  It may not happen when or how we expect, but God is true to his word.
  • Be specific about what you ask for such as physical needs, security, and intimate relationships.
  • In addition to allowing friends and close family members to esteem you, read books that affirm your values and worth as a person.  Resist the deception that you must measure up to the standards of the world to be esteemed.
  • Be patient and persevere.  Self-actualization is a lifelong pursuit for most of us, but it could be fulfilled in the present moment in a way that was not expected.  Finally, remember to stay in the present.  What is needed might be right before us in the present moment. Be in the Now.

The pandemic has disrupted many of our lives, and the fulfillment of many of our needs have been lacking.  But remember that ultimately, all our needs that were met in the past were met by God, therefore, we can rely on Him to restore those needs that have been interrupted by the pandemic or other causes.  We can receive the word of God through the Apostle Paul who said: “…my God will supply all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19.

To help get your mind refocused into a place of confidence and serenity, look at the COVID Coach APP.  It is free to download, and it contains resources to help cope with circumstances that may have interrupted the flow of needs in your life.

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