“Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter…What frustrates us and robs our lives of joy is this absence of meaning… Does our being alive matter?” – Harold S. Kushner
Some say that the only highway in life that really matters is HAPPINESS. I beg to differ with that statement. Happiness is only temporary. Yes, there are things in life that make us happy: work, relationships, promotions, accomplishing goals, finishing projects, etc. But this happiness is temporary.
Fulfillment is different. It’s much deeper than happiness. It comes from WHY you do it and how it connects you to your God-given destiny. Our souls long for meaning, for our lives to matter.
Dr. Phillip McGraw tells his story in “Self Matters: Creating Your Life From The Inside Out.” He tells about graduating from med school, residency, everything required to join his father’s medical practice, to fulfill his father’s dream. Yet, it didn’t feel right. He would shrug off the negative feelings and forge ahead. After graduation, he made a heartfelt promise to himself: “I don’t care how much money I get to making – If I ever find myself doing this just for the money if I am ever just going through the motions, I am out of here.”
Ten years later…
His practice had exploded into one of the largest in the country. He was a success in his career by anybody’s standards. He had a secure lifestyle. He had houses, cars, a wonderful marriage, two sons, parents who were proud of him. He had it all. But it didn’t feel right inside. His promise to himself 10 years earlier haunted him in those quiet, still moments. He longed to connect with his true, authentic self again before the world started crowding in.
How many of us are in similar situations? Maybe we don’t have the money, the power or the status that Dr. Phil had, but we allow things to get in the way of leading a life that fulfills our God-given purpose, a life that matters.
Dr. Phil was trying to fulfill his father’s dream of having his son as a partner in his medical clinic. But it still wasn’t satisfying or fulfilling to Dr. Phil because it wasn’t his God-given purpose.
Many of us chase goals and dreams that we are convinced will make us happy: money, power, or status. Somes, as in Dr. Phil’s case, try to fulfill the dreams of someone else.
Many spend their whole lives chasing a goal that they never catch and end up with a very unfulfilling life. While others do catch their goal and find it elusive, empty, not what they thought it would be. After all their work they are still unfulfilled.
We all have an innate need to find meaning and expression in the things we do, a need for fulfillment, a need for purpose. When this need is not met we feel empty, disillusioned, or perhaps, even depressed. Many chase these goals out of insecurity.
Insecurity driven goals are empty goals. They are about control, not fulfillment. The goal of having money and accumulation of wealth is an insecurity driven goal to find security. The quest for power is to quench the fear of being vulnerable. The desire for status is an attempt to acquire intimacy, respect, and love.
Jeremy, a very talented young musician, suffered from insecurity as a result of overbearing siblings and parents who were unattentive. As a result, he always felt his music wasn’t good enough. He let opportunities pass to allow others to hear his music.
He went into sales with the idea that he could make a lot of money and be able to pay to have his songs recorded professionally. Money in the bank was his security blanket or so he thought.
Years passed. He made good in sales, but he never seemed to reach the monetary level where he felt secure enough to record demos or present his music to someone who could promote it.
When the opportunities became more accessible, with the dawn of the digital age, other excuses surfaced, it wasn’t good enough or this had to be redone or that had to change. The songs never got finished.
In his twilight years, he sat on the front porch in his rocking chair wondering, ”Could I have done what I love?” “Would people have liked my songs?” “Could I have been a star?” “Was I really good enough?”
“I’ll never know?” he had to conclude. “If only I had given it a try, then I would have known for sure.”
He spent the rest of his days asking, “What if.”
Life is a journey that starts when we are born and continues as long as we are alive. None of us had a choice about starting the journey, but we all have choices about how we conduct our journey and how we finish.
Are you going to just mark time as long as you are on this earth or are you going to live your life with purpose and make it matter? What matters to you? Do you even know? What is your God-given Purpose?
People come to these questions from very different places. Some are suffering from physical, mental, and/or emotional pain. Others are looking and longing for something to make their life worthwhile. Still, others are questioning what life is all about and what it would take to make their lives matter.
Some wonder if this life is all there is or is there a hereafter and if so, what do they need to do to be in a good place in the hereafter. Some are fearful and worried about this life and the hereafter.
Some are constantly measuring whether they are on the right track or not. Others are burdened down with the loss of time and worries about missed opportunities and regrets.
As we get older, many worry about what will happen tomorrow and what they will be faced with? Will they be alone? What will their life be like? Others worry about their loved ones. Many worry about whether they will fall and if so, how far, and will they be able to get up and continue on their journey. Many are looking for something or someone to guide them, to show them how to have a life of purpose, a life that is fulfilling and meaningful.
Still, others have had loved ones who have left this way too early, caused those who are left to question their own journey and whether their life counts for something, whether it matters.
Where are you in this journey? Are you living a life with passion and purpose or are you just marking time?
None of us are here by accident. God knows you are here. Before you were born He designed a specific purpose just for you. Do you know what that purpose is? If not start your journey to find your God-given Purpose and to live a life that matters.
Put past failures and disappointments behind you.
Philippians 3:12-14 The Apostle Paul states, 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We can’t change the past but we can make the choice to change the present and the future. God is able to turn your circumstances around. He is the God of the second and third and fourth chances. He is able to resurrect broken dreams and to restore broken lives. You cannot embrace the future that God has for you if you are continually rehearsing your past hurts and regrets. Let it go!!!
Go To The Bible and Ask God To Reveal His Purpose For You.
God tells us when we lack wisdom to ask and he gives to us generously. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Have you taken the time to ask God what your purpose is? Take some quiet time and ask. Again, journal what comes into your mind after you ask. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
What are your Gifts and Strengths?
God has given you special gifts, strengths, and talents that are uniquely you. God’s purpose for you usually involves the things that you are already good at.
What is your Passion?
Your passion could be anything – business, art, music, community service. If money wasn’t an issue what would you be doing? It has been said that God works at the intersection of our gifts and our passion – Mike Ward.
Think about it. What are your gifts, strengths, and talents? What is your passion? What is your God-given Purpose? How will you make your life matter?