Published by Kelly Wilson on 20 Aug 2018

Thriving vs. Self Actualization – A Challenger for Maslow’s Hierarchy

I recently saw an article about Maslow’s loss hierarchy of needs on LinkedIn.

The first time I saw this concept, I was a psychology major in the late 1980s. Though the concept seemed interesting and was presented in a dynamic way, I was always confused by the phrase self-actualization. What does this really mean?

Fast toward to today and still think this is a fuzzy concept. But now, I’ve lived through enough good and bad experiences to propose an alternate viewpoint. My hierarchy is called Hierarchy of a Better Life or the Pyramid of Thriving.

Here’s what it looks like:
BD-BL Hierachy 8x8Relationships make up the biggest part and most important part of this model.

The foundation is a person’s relationship with his or her creator. After all, the One who made us knows what He had in mind for us from the beginning. We wouldn’t be here without God and He wants to be at the center and life is better that way. Ironically, people who don’t believe in the God of the Bible still may believe in the idea of a power bigger than ourselves. If we are grounded in this, everything else can be handled.

The next most important relationship is the one I have with myself. (And the one you have with your self.) We rarely think about it, but we are always in a running conversation with ourselves. I am always with me. And what I think about myself affects everything else. It shapes how I relate to others, what I do and what I even think is possible. If my relationship with myself is adversarial it’s like having and enemy in my heart. And if I could learn to be a wise cheerleader for myself, I could do so much more.

The next tier up represents my relationships with other people. These include loved ones, family members, friends, coworkers, teammates, neighbors, adversaries and even strangers who I might be sharing the road with in my vehicle. Much of life is affected good and bad by these connections. In my hierarchy I would encourage people to proactively think about these relationships and figure out plans and strategies to help them be a mutually beneficial as possible.

Productivity is level four. It covers the gambit of “stuff” that people need and want to do. It includes cooking dinner, doing homework, exercising, changing diapers, finishing tasks for my job, writing books, feeding the homeless, taking out the garbage, sewing costumes for my daughter’s musical, etc, etc, etc.

All this stuff takes on new meaning when we think about our to-dos as it they connect to the levels below. So I exercise to take care of my body, so I can be around to see my children get married and have their own children. I try to excel at work so I can have enough money to cover the items that I need to manage. Most nights, I cook dinner at home, so my husband has healthy meals to help manage his diabetes. I write a blog so I can share the lessons I am learning with other people who I don’t yet know, to help them avoid making the same mistakes I have made, and etc, etc, etc.

Productivity often provides the resources to fuel the other levels.

I like to say this hierarchy helps people thrive by connecting the everyday activities our meaningful relationships, which have the potential to be eternal.

The cherry on the top of the Better Life pyramid is joy (or enjoyment). Sometimes joy can be challenging to explain. I often think of it as a continuum that goes from fun moments to the pleasure of good circumstances to a steadfast delight in God, despite the circumstances.

Joy enables the other levels to be better, like cream makes coffee even better.

Using this hierarchy has helped me personally go from a life that seemed broken and impossible, to a life that has meaning and consistent times of relational connection, productive service and laugh out load loads of fun.

If this sounds intriguing to you, please contact me www.betterdaybetterlife.com.

Published by Kelly Wilson on 04 Apr 2018

Stomped!

My daughter, Koah, ran into the house yelling “Mom! Mom! There’s a big bug in the garage!”

I looked up from my task and said dryly with a sigh, “Where is it?” (I have killed hundreds of bugs for this child.)

She said with passion, “It’s near the ceiling.” I walked out to the garage and immediately saw a big long bug with many legs on high beam. These ugly jokers seem to love our garage.

My daughter and I were about to leave the house and I knew she wouldn’t want to go to my vehicle if I didn’t handle this situation.

I quickly grabbed a broom that I keep near my vehicle and hit the bug squarely with one shot. It fell to the ground right by my foot. So I stomped it. Squuuiiiish.

The bug was no match for my middle-aged-mom moves. He was stomped to smithereens. This little episode happened on Good Friday 2018.

IMG_4127As I was sweeping up the remains of the bug I started to think that this is a reasonable analogy of what Jesus did on the cross for me. His death and resurrection stomped the devil’s claim on any who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord.

The devil may rear his head to frighten us, but because of Jesus, we are free and can live confidently in Him.

A similar image is used in Genesis 3:15 when God says to the serpent, after convincing Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he (Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

One of the worst things the devil does is use fear to keep us from many good things we want to do and worse yet he tries to keep us from doing what God tells us to do.

I pray that we will remember this illustration in our house. The enemy is stomped, because we have accepted the Lord Jesus who is risen!

 

Published by Kelly Wilson on 06 Sep 2017

The Attractiveness of Vulnerability & Strength

There is something unique and beautiful about a person who is both strong and vulnerable. There have been times, when I have entered a group of women that I didn’t know, and some came across as very strong. They were like a momma bear, who was leading with an “I got this!” attitude. (And I have acted like this myself.) But, I am usually not drawn to women who act like that, because their strength makes me feel like I am lesser. And when I act like that, women are not attracted to me.

The people I am most often drawn to have a combination of vulnerability and strength. The vulnerability might show up as sharing a trial that they are going through, or a tough time that are seeking God’s help for. It might just be a sense of comfort with their flaws and the flaws of others. When they graciously share their healed-or-healing-wounds I often sense God is at work and using those experiences for His purposes.

Green houseplant in steel copy

But there is another extreme, which is a wounded person, who likely could be further along the healing process, who chooses to remain consumed by the hurts that she can’t focus on anything else. This dynamic seems to turn people away as well.

Ideally by God’s grace we can find the sweet spot and have balance.

John 12:1-7 gives an example of this dynamic with four different people. 

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. (NLT)

This story happens at the beginning of the week in which Jesus will be crucified. He goes from Jerusalem to the town of Bethany be with dear friends. Jesus and many of His followers are at the home of Lazarus, who had been so sick that he died (vulnerable). But he was raised back to life by the power of Jesus (strength). Lazarus was sitting at the dinner table talking and enjoying Jesus (strength).

Martha, Laz’ sister is there too. She is still the hostess with the most-est and she is serving, but now with grace and without anxiety (strength). She has grown a lot from the time when Jesus came to dinner at her house and he told her that her sister chosen the better part (healed-wound.) That story is told in Luke 8:38-42.

Mary, Laz’ other sister loves Jesus dearly. She is likely worried that He will be killed, because she knows of the treats against her brother. She showers Jesus with a lavishly expensive gift (strength) delivered in a most subservient way (vulnerability).

Judas, an unfaithful follower of Jesus, chastises Mary’s act in a deceptively pious statement (false strength). He then thinks so highly of himself that he plans to betray Jesus (self-destructive strength) which ultimately leads to him taking his own life as covered in Matthew 27:1.

Jesus goes to Bethany to be with His friends for support and comfort (vulnerability). Even as our Savior and Lord, He allows them to minister to Him in friendship (vulnerability & strength). He defends Mary’s act of service, maybe even tipping off Judas that Jesus is aware of His impending death (strength).

Prayer:

“Father help us as your daughters (and sons), become who You are calling us to be. Help us accept healing for the wounds that are tender. Give us the right balance of strength and vulnerability so that we are like our Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

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