Know Your Needs

Week 2, Day 1

Dr. Allen Hunt is a nationally known speaker and bestselling author. His books include Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church, Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody, and Nine Words: A Bible Study to Help You Become the Best-Version-of-Yourself.. Allen and his wife, Anita, live in Atlanta and have two grown daughters.

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Hi, I’m Allen Hunt. You and I are going to spend this week together and last week you focused on meaning, and purpose, and dreams for your life.

This week, let’s focus on “Is there a better way?” Maybe you’ve asked that question multiple times in your life. “Is there a better way for my life?” “Is there a better way to live?” When we think about that, we think really there’s two kinds of needs.

There are those needs we have to survive: food, water, oxygen and our secondary needs. And those are the ones that are essential to thriving not just surviving, but thriving. There’s a difference. Now, I travel a lot to speak, and I stay in a lot of hotel and a few weeks ago, I was in a hotel. And all hotels have mirrors, and this mirror over the bathroom sink made me look better than I had looked in decades. It was the best me I had seen in forever.

I wanted to take that mirror off the wall and take it home, because I looked so good in that mirror compared to all the other ones I see. I don’t know what it was about that one. Maybe it’s not a mirror that helps you take a look at a better you on the outside, but is there a mirror that helps you see on the inside whether you’re thriving or just surviving, not only physically, but emotionally, intellectually, and especially spiritually?

You and I want to receive the great deep gift of God that is Christmas. And to do that, we have to be able to tune out the noise of the world, and the clutter, and all the chaos to hear that gentle voice within us, speaking to the deepest place in our souls, that helps us determine what matters most and what matters least.

Then we can say yes to God’s hopes, not just for the world at Christmas, but also for your life, this Christmas. So let me ask you, are you thriving? Or are you just surviving?

Food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe. Without these things, our lives would very quickly be brought to a grinding halt. We need them just to survive. We fulfill these primary needs without even thinking. But we have deeper, secondary needs that are not critical to our survival. We can survive without them for years in many cases. But they are essential if we are going to thrive in any (or all) of the four aspects of our lives—physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. When our secondary needs are being fulfilled, we begin to blossom and bloom as human beings. For example, if we want to thrive at Christmas we cannot simply eat cookies, open presents, spread a little holiday cheer, and call it a day. We need to be present to our loved ones, and we need to spend time in quiet prayer and reflection.

To go deeper into this topic, check out Part 2, Chapter 2 (“Understanding Our Legitimate Needs”) in Matthew Kelly’s book The Rhythm of Life.


Your secondary needs are the keys to thriving.


Look at each area of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. What are your secondary needs?


Jesus, help me to know my needs so I can live the life of abundance that you want for me.