Giving Life Meaning
It seems pretty clear to me our ideas about what makes life meaningful are skewed. If fame, fortune, and the ability to satisfy pretty much any desire we have were the answer, then people who have achieved them would have no reason to commit suicide. It can be a dangerous time when a person realizes the true meaning of life and source of hope does not lie in the things he or she spent many years pursuing. The things that bring us the most pleasure are often the things that provide just enough distraction to prevent us from taking a long, serious, heartfelt look at the parts of our life we are trying to mask. We have been sold a lie when we begin to think our happiness lies in anything this world has to offer, and we decide to ignore our personal spirituality. We are spiritual beings - with a 2,000 year old Bible to attest to that. As long as we ignore that very significant part of our humanity, we will be compelled to search, and what we find will never be quite enough to satiate our need.
The assumption that God will understand as we start putting our time and life’s devotion into work, family, material possessions, and hobbies - and stop or never even begin to put it on Him and seeking His will for our lives is risky and life-threatening. The longing hole in our lives is deepened by a yearning for hope which often drives us to look for things or people or experiences to fill it. Unfortunately, we begin to look for the material to fill the spiritual, because often that is all we know. Or all we are stubbornly willing to do.
It doesn’t matter how much you enjoy camping or vacationing or shopping or working or eating or exercising or hanging out with friends or spending time with your family: camping trips and vacations end and you have to go home; the things your bought lose their newness; your job fills your time and is an exchange of your time for money - which can buy things but cannot save a soul; food is quite possibly the shortest-lived provider of pleasure and certainly one of the most troublesome for many people; exercise by itself is a good thing, but even the most physically fit individuals face health problems and aging; and people can help fill loneliness, but they also can absorb us emotionally and mentally, and provide distractions and entertainment which leave our lives when they move on.
Neglecting spiritual well-being is costly and painful. You can pay thousands of dollars to a therapist who will listen to you discuss your life as you try to sort out through problems for a few hours each week, but he or she will never post advertising which states “I will never leave you or forget you.” You can try all sorts of medications to alleviate your pain and give you peace of mind - but none of them come with a guarantee to provide a supernatural depth of peace the human mind cannot begin to fathom. You can talk to your friends and complain about your life and work yourself into quite a state of self-pity and sorrow, and it may very well be that your life is unbelievably painful and the most incredible wrongs have been perpetrated against you, but even the best of friends cannot offer to carry all of your burdens for you. They can’t. Most people can barely manage their own, because life is hard.
The lives of celebrities demonstrate clearly to us that material possessions and food and alcohol and drugs will not give our lives meaning or soothe the desperate pleas of our souls. They can’t, no matter how much we tell ourselves they can. I remember one night I was at a terrible low point. There was so much pain in my heart - and I was just tired of living with it. I decided that night I would get my affairs in order and take my own life. I remember very clearly lying on the couch and feeling suddenly peaceful about that decision. I wanted so badly to not have to experience any more pain and to feel so utterly worthless. I was living in an abusive situation and felt I had no option to leave, that I mattered that little. I was so confused by the lies and anger that surrounded me. But as I lay there, I could feel God’s presence. He removed the false peace I felt as my children’s faces ran through my mind. He reassured me He would love me the same whether I stayed in the marriage or left - and He reminded me my kids needed me even though it didn’t always seem that way.
When I was in the middle of one of the most painful and humiliating periods of my life - I discovered how many pseudo-friends I actually had. Hateful rumors designed to destroy me were spread among the Christians I knew. Christians can be pretty vicious when they spread gossip couched as prayer requests. Many times my stomach sank and my heart pounded when I would see someone I knew as I was out and about. I never knew what they had been told and what they believed. It was a very lonely time - and depression loomed, yet, every single time I cried out to God He was there. He answered prayer after prayer in unexpected ways, and brought me unfathomable peace as I left a lifetime and most of the people I knew behind. My heart was often light when it should have been heavy, and every time a prayer was answered I grew spiritually stronger.
My dearly loved friends and readers, please don’t fool yourselves or let stubbornness keep you pursuing things that will never make you whole and complete. Pursue God. Seek Him. All the rest will fall into place. My life is a testimony to that. You can't afford to neglect your spirituality.
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