Many of us spend much of our lives searching for a purpose to the lives that we lead. For some, the purpose is found in the small things; walks by our favorite pond, the cat that always meows outside the window as dinner is prepared, the smell of coffee steeping as we step outside of the shower. For some, purpose must be found in temporal usefulness; the work we do Monday through Friday, volunteering to clean up around our communities, donating time to a local soup kitchen. For others, purpose is found outside of our daily lives; worshipping God, attending our local church, taking solace in the beauty of His creation. The purpose that we all find can be quite different from the purpose that the person sitting next to us has found, or it can be almost the same exact thing.
Within all of the different meanings that we use to get out of bed in the morning, is the prerequisite – the search for it. I will not burden the reader with a description of this search, as there are so many writers who have provided so many beautiful and moving depictions of it and I do not want to sully their works with a mediocre depiction of my own. No, it is not the search that I wish to talk about, but the abandonment of what the search has given.
Many people reading this will remember as a child or a young adult, or even into their full adulthood, being plagued with a fear that they will never know what the meaning of life; never know what their purpose should be. For most of us (although, I would argue that the number has decreased in these modern times full of distraction and noise), we find that meaning. It may be a slow percolation that leads to a gradual realization, or there may be a person or event that rocks meaning and purpose into our lives, a meaning and purpose that may be rather different than what was once expected.
The search may continue for many years, and the findings that it turns up may change over time, leading to a morphing of meaning; the birth of a child, the loss of a spouse, the ending of a relationship. In all of these is the distinct possibility that one may not like the meaning that their search has turned up, and this dislike may undoubtedly turn into a fear.
The young man who always seems like he goes wherever the wind blows finds that his meaningful moments are in the routinization of his daily life, in the things that repeat over and over. A young woman, intent on shedding the manacles of an oppressive society finds that her meaningful moments are when she provides love and care to those who cannot provide it to themselves. I speak of these because they are close to my heart, but the scenarios are manifold, far beyond my limited personal experience to delve into.
Many are faced with the finding that purpose is to be found in their lives in a manner different from what they had hoped, pointing them towards a different life than they had imagined living. For some, however, this difference between truth and hope resolves itself in fear and avoidance; seeking meaning and purpose in areas that they know are wrong. Fear of a purpose leading them to a life of challenge and outside of a life of comfort lends itself to a life of avoidance, a life of superficiality and emptiness.
Face the fear and welcome the challenges that your search has delivered unto you. Pick up your cross, embrace the purpose that the Lord has set out for you.