Saturday, January 24, 2009

Needs, Wants, and the Attainment of God

There is one final thought on Goal setting, planning, peace of mind, and the things of God.

That would be that where you are is where you are SUPPOSED to be. God has you right where you are supposed to be.

Often goals cause a desire to be somewhere other than where we are. “I am supposed to be over here.” “I was supposed to have this much money in the bank by this age.” Like “normal” people, I am supposed to have achieved, accumulated, attained thus and so.

The difference between where we think we should be and where we are causes a thing psychologists call 'cognitive dissonance.' In simple terms, it is when the thing in your head is very real and important to you, yet the thing you see in reality is very different. This cognitive dissonance causes physical ailments, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.


The economy is tumbling. Stocks and real estate follow. In our heads we believe that our home value should look like this, and our stock value should look like that...and we tie our sense of personal value ('Am I valued by God? Doesn't God care? Where is God now?!') to these things.

Hence people jumping out of windows or committing suicide. Hence people withdrawing from society and plugging into their work or the television, avoiding people. They think that they have less worth, (or worthless), or unloved (by God first, then by themselves, and therefore by the world around them), and have dissolving relationships. They let their goals go. They let their finances go. They let their time slip by, hoping yet not believing that things will get better.

Does that rock sit in the pit of your stomach like it does mine when you read that? I find that this trend is true in everyone. And that includes when things are really well! We are elated. We are excited when things are going well. We are walking on cloud nine.

Our identity has been tied to what is going on around us.

To master being able to set goals but not holding the results to0 close to our breast, as if they were our very heart, to disassociate from attaining goals as a means of identity, we would be better prepared mentally to BEING the person we are supposed to be.

When we are focused on ATTAINING and not BEING, we are focused on being somewhere other than we are. We are focused on being a full-time missionary, or financially independent business person, or having that pet we lost, or getting married.

That is the point that cognitive dissonance happens, anxiety builds, and faith fades.

Though none of these things are wrong, and though through goal setting I believe that each one can be attained, the need to be, do, or have these things should be cut.

If, by God's serendipitous foresight, He brought me to where I am, and brought YOU to where you are, we should to take a deep breath.

Breath in and then out.
When we breath in, we need to see a clear picture in our mind, an open air not muddied with the concerns of where we are trying to get to.

We should unwind the sense of needing to attain anything.
We should unwind and tell ourselves, “We are where we are by the divine will of God! We were chosen then, and we are chosen now. We are in perfect lockstep with where He wants me to be. I LOVE where I am. I love where I am going, too, but it does not affect who I am or how I feel.”

Now, some of us are so wound up we cannot see that, and we can talk about that. (Message me!)

But I want to encourage everyone! During these times (and any time really, but especially during these emotionally-charged days) we really could benefit from separating any sense of identity from the external world around us.

We could greatly benefit from letting our anxieties unwind by looking at our goals and asking ourselves if we think we really need to accomplish any of those things, or if we really just want to. Admitting that many of those things are things that we want is elating!

It is elating to say, “I just want to be financially free! I do not have to. I just WANT TO!” Or, “I just WANT my pet back. I miss her. I want her. I just do not NEED to have her.”

Try it!

I hope that you find some relief from any anxiety you might be having. I know that I have always loaded anxiety upon anxiety into my own life, but this is just not so, not any more!

As Christians, the only thing we NEED to do is know Him! From there will stem what we need to be focusing on. From there will come answers for our friends and families. From there will come the attainment of whatever it is He wants us to attain, and to let go of whatever it is He wants us to let go of.

Lets set our goals on Him today! Lets then see what is before us to do, and do it diligently. But let us do it with a light heart, knowing that He is accomplishing all of these things, and that the weight is on Him! God bless you all!

And you thought that we were just talking about GOAL SETTING!! :)


Nathan B H said...

very good.

CK said...

Oh the power that comes with differentiating between wants and needs. I first encountered this in a relationship years ago. When I thought I needed things from the other I wasn't free NOT to receive those things (unmet needs...not good!), nor was the other person free NOT to meet those "needs." When I shifted to "wants"...whoa. I can make more objective decisions about unmet wants. And if someone doesn't want to meet my wants, well, Plan B comes easier to me than if I think it's an unmet need.

Powerful post, Grant! Much wisdom there. "Be where you are" took on new meaning once I had the revelation that God redeems us and all we do through ALL the choices we make and situations in which we end up. Whatever choices, whatever we achieve or don't achieve, He finds us and uses us and our choices for His good. I rejoice in that.