When you come to the end of your life, will you find yourself still struggling to find purpose and meaning for your life? 50, 60 years from now, will you have found the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you these last few years? What am I to do? Who am I to become? What is my purpose? And who is out there to do this with me? Is there anyone or anything for me?
Do we think that somewhere along the line these things all fall into place and it just starts to make sense? Do we think that if we wait long enough, one day we’ll wake up and all of those answers will just come to us? Is that what we see going on in the world with the people around us?
Let’s look at reality. We have the Beatles singing:
He’s A Real Nowhere Man
Sitting In His Nowhere Land
Making All His Nowhere Plans For Nobody
Doesn’t Have A Point Of View
knows Not Where He’s Going To
Isn’t He A Bit Like You And Me?
And that’s just one example of a huge library of songs written about being lost, having no purpose, or feeling like you’re being blown around in the wind.
40% of all students who enroll in college don’t manage to have their degree 6 years later. Most of them have dropped out and the ones who haven’t change their degrees or fail so many times that what used to be a 4 year process seems to have no end. Only 60% of college graduates are actually employed in a field where they even need a degree. Even less than that are employed in a field that requires their particular degree.
And then, by the time we hit our 40s and 50s, we experience this wonderful time known as our midlife crisis. We realize we hate our jobs. We hate our bosses. We start to even lack interest in life at home. We start to look back at all our missed opportunities and our lack of adventure and try to make up for a half century worth of what we see as apathy and mistakes in just a year or two. And of course, that gets us into even more trouble and we create a new list of regrets and mistakes.
Divorce rates are higher now than at any recorded point in history. And divorce rates among so-called Christians are even higher than in the secular world. We trade in, trade up, fall in love, fall out of love, and don’t even bat an eye about it.
And then we hit retirement. The culmination of our entire body of work here on earth, boiled down into a pension package or mutual fund. We determine to do everything our job/children/situation never allowed us to do. So we move to Punto Gordo, buy a boat, and spend the weekends adding to our shell collection. And we say, “this is the life! This is the life that I’ve always wanted and now I’m living it!” Except we don’t really believe it. We just believe that we finally got to the point we had been looking forward to all our life. Because we believed what we’d been sold all our lives: the focus of this life is to work hard, acquire lots of stuff, and then hopefully have time left in the end to enjoy all that stuff.
And when we face the King of Glory on the day of judgment, and we’re asked “What have you done with the things that I gave you? What investment did you make into my kingdom?”, we can gleefully reply, “look at my shell collection!”
Here’s a short list of ways we can self-check ourselves. Am I wasting my life or am I truly living?
1) I waste my life when I get caught up in the crowd. I live when my concern is for His kingdom.
2) I waste my life when I wear a mask. I live my life when I show my true face.
3) I waste my life when I let fear of the physical control me. I live my life when I fear God alone.
4) I waste my life when I avoid opportunities to make Jesus famous. I live my life when I look for opportunities to make Jesus famous.
5) I waste my life when I selfishly seek physical wants instead of spiritual needs. I live my life when I focus on God instead of myself.
6) I waste my life when I’m preoccupied with getting. I live my life when I respond to God’s giving.
7) I waste my life when my life is filled with worry. I live my life when I learn to rest in Him.
8) I waste my life when the things I find most precious are earthly. I live my life when the things I find most precious have eternal value.
9) I waste my life when I’m not faithfully attentive to my purpose. I live my life when I’m going out of my way to pursue my purpose.
10) I waste my life when I act as if I am in control. I live my life when I know and embrace my role in His plan.
11) I waste my life when I ignore my gifts and shirk my responsibilities. I live my life when I identify my gifts and fulfill my responsibilities.
12) I waste my life when I let false harmony water down the truth. I live my life when I learn to speak the truth in love.
13) I waste my life when I avoid change. I live my life when I eagerly anticipate the changing of seasons.
14) I waste my life when I spit on common sense. I live my life when Jesus is my source of common sense.