"Do you want to be made whole?" John 5:6. "The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." John 5:7. He had been lying there for 38 years. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou. "For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well." John 5:4. Did the paralytic man have a legitimate excuse? It is something to think about.
I often think of this scripture when I find myself in a state of stagnation, in other words "stuck." At these times my creative juices are not flowing and quite frankly, my goals all seem to be pending waiting for me to reactivate them. Hence, you have probably read some of my writings, and you know that I have mentioned that this paralyzed man laid by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years waiting for someone to put him in the pool. That did not happen.
Now here is where I take poetic license or where I give my commentary. I believe that initially the man had hope that some kind, helpful or empathetic person would help him into the water. But, we all know that when folks are trying to get their needs met; they are the priority, and you are not on their radar. You know the old saying: "Every man for himself, and God for all." By the time Jesus approached, the man was on the verge of giving up. Maybe he had. But, there was a spark deep down in him; a small vestige of hope.
This is what I have pondered over the years; and I am speaking for myself. Why do some people keep trying in the face of incredible odds while some people facing a few obstacles just give up? I do not profess to have the answer, but I have reasoned that it has to do with faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Simply put, there are things you and I cannot and never will understand, but results are born out your/our belief that things will change in our favor. Why? Because you have witnessed or heard tell of change/s that seemed to defy explanation. And, if we are honest, we know that this can only be attributed to the hand of God.
In the case of the man by the pool, he had seen others healed so he knew it was possible for him also. He had not lost hope in the healing power, but his faith was dwindling in the kindness of others to put him in the pool. For me, the lesson is in the outcome. Ultimately, the One who had the power to heal him without the pool, rewarded his faith. While the man offered up excuses as to why he had not been healed, he still wanted to be healed and had faith that he could be. Jesus met him where he was. He told the man to "rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed and walked." John 5:8-9. At this moment, this man reached a level of wholeness that he had only dreamed about. He was made spiritually and physically whole.
For some, it takes a lifetime to achieve such wholeness, even for those who have no physical impairments. We sometimes refer to this completeness as self-actualization, which is defined as: the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. To explain a little, Abraham Maslow as an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. He said that humans are motivated by five essential needs: physiological, safety, social, self-esteem and self-actualization (also known as self-fulfillment). At the bottom of the pyramid are our physiological needs such as food, water, sleep, and warmth.
Maslow's humanistic psychology is based on the belief that people are born with the desire to achieve their maximum potential or reach a point he termed self-actualization. Ever wonder why we are goal oriented? It is innate. Every think about why when we accomplish goals, we feel such a sense of satisfaction? Again, it is innate.
Many people may not ascribe to psychological theory, but remember a lot of people have not studied medicine, but we respect those who do, and many of us actually rely on the fact that our doctors did. Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior. In the face of all that is going on in our world today, I believe it behooves us to pay a little closer attention to what those who have studied the mind say about achieving and maintaining a healthy mind and a healthy outlook on life.
Self-actualized people accept themselves and others as they are. They have found meaning and purpose in their lives and are able to say they are truly living. For those who have reached self-actualization, gratitude is a virtue.
Where do you stand in terms of self-actualization? What are the barriers that make this process unattainable for you?
Make a plan to get back in the game. Assess where you are in your life with regard to the goals you have made. Do you have an action plan? If not, develop one. If you have a plan, recommit to it. When I find that I am stuck, I have to go back to the beginning and ask myself what I had in mind in the first place. I also question whether I need to amend my goals. But, planning and sticking to the plan is a must. "Where there is no vision, the people perish.." Proverbs 29:18. If you do not know where you are going, then you are already there. Relax. Seriously, write down, schedule on the calendar, the steps you are going to take to reignite the goals that you have designed to allow you to reach your maximum potential.
Never lose faith; let hope spring eternal. When you lose hope, all is lost. No matter how many times things do not not work out as you want them to and you want to give up, don't. Giving up and throwing in the towel will only lead to being even more stuck, stagnate and ultimately being completely unfulfilled. Stop, get refreshed. Pray, do some small achievable things in the interim, and then get back on task. You will never know how great things can turn out if you give up. The faith the size of a muster seed can move mountains. "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20.
Remember your "Why?" Most of us do things on purpose and for a purpose. We have an end goal. Do you have one? I know that when I joined a weight loss program; it was, of course, to lose weight. But, the reason I wanted to drop some pounds was for health issues. I know we get tired of our doctors telling us to lose weight to improve our health, it seems like their favorite go to advice. But, they are right. Excess weight impacts our health; bottom line. When I am struggling to not buy those chocolate almonds (because I eat too many of them), I have to realize that I still have weight concerns and the reason for that concern (high blood pressure); is still present and although under control, will only stay under control if I continue to watch my weight. That is my "why" in this instance, and I do well not to forget it. What is your "why?" When you cannot seem to follow through on the goals that you have set for your life, remember why you designed those goals in the first place, and revise, if needed, and follow through accordingly.
Be grateful! "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18. You know, I learned at an early age that things do not have to be as well with me as they are. I am blessed to have opened my eyes to a brand new day today, in my right mind and able to clothe myself. For this and every blessing,I give thanks. I am grateful that whatever I have, I can share with others. Look around, count your blessings. Some are not so obvious, but you too are blessed. Do not forget to say thank you; no matter what you are going through. In the words of my grandmother, "It could always be worse." Evangelist Mary Jackman.
I do not know what it means to you or what it would take for you to reach self-actualization, but I wish you well on the journey. Never lose sight of where you are heading and why you want to get there. Remember, when you get there, help someone else. Each one, teach one. Each one reach one. In this way, we are the recipient of God's blessings for mankind. It is through us that we spread God's love and blessings. May He bless you richly as you continue in your pursuits!!
Thank you again for your support. I remain grateful. You can always send any comments that you may have to: firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have any questions that you may have for my advice column, you can send them to AskYvette1@gmail.com