Disclaimer: This post contains information about my personal beliefs! If you are offending by hearing about other people’s beliefs that may be different from your own, feel free to stop reading now. No hard feelings.
Throughout human history, people have been pondering the meaning of life. Of course some take a different view — as one dear friend once said, “I’m not interested in being deep.” I’m amazed at those who don’t seem to give much thought to finding meaning in their lives, as it’s always been kind of important to me.
Well if you know me, you may know that it’s actually super important. I’ve thought about it quite a bit. And I am about to turn 30, so perhaps I am old and wise enough for my thoughts to be of value.
In the simplest of terms, I’ve found that life is about this: Love God and love people. In the Christian co-op that I lived in during college we had a huge art piece on the wall that said, “Love God with all you’ve got and love people with all He gives you.” This does come from the Bible, when Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind….Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Then you ask, but what does this mean practically in my life? What specifically am I supposed to do each day? Because the meaning of life is really more of an essay question than a multiple choice test.
I think it’s important to make the best possible decisions with the choices we are faced with, in light of the goals of loving God and loving people. We do not have total control over our lives, we can only make choices based on the circumstances we find ourselves in.
I choose to be a part of a church because it helps me with both of these goals. It helps me to worship and learn more about God, and to be a part of a community where I can love and serve other people.
I’m also a wife and a mother. Being a stay-at-home mother to a toddler is a 24-7 job. Being the best wife and mother I can be is my main purpose right now during my daughter’s formative years. Sometimes I get discouraged because I think I should be doing more. I used to be a teacher and I think, perhaps I should be teaching. Perhaps I should be writing books. Perhaps this or that. But prayer has given me the perspective that being a good mother is the most important thing I can be doing right now.
I could go into a long diatribe about my meandering career path, but I will just say that circumstances have led me to surrender to God’s will again and again. I have aspired to great success in terms of this or that career but now I feel at peace just being a mom. It is well with my soul. I am also a writer and am enjoying writing for the sake of writing. Writing is one of the things that brings meaning into my life.
As for you, if you are grappling with this question I would encourage you to pray. Ask God to give you purpose and direction for your life, and opportunities to love others. Then watch for those opportunities. Make the best choices you can with the circumstances you have.
Also, do this: Dare greatly. If you’re really into this guy and you’re pretty sure he’s into you, but he won’t say it, then ask him what’s going on. You might find that ten years later, you’re married, with a beautiful daughter. Or not. But at least you’ll have tried. Audition for the choir. Apply to graduate school. Call that acquaintance and ask them to have coffee with you. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Maybe this post is overly cheese-ball and cliche. I get like that sometimes, late at night. But this meaning of life stuff really matters.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you Jacob, He who formed you Israel. Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43: 1
For further, better edited writing regarding the meaning of life check out the following:
-Storyline by Donald Miller (a workbook to help you find meaning in your life, by one of my celebrity crushes)
-The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
– the Bible
– T. S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets