Today was the last full day of my Positive Psychology class. Over the last day and a half each of us had to present a portion of the materials we had just learned on Monday and Tuesday. It has been intense and a little overwhelming at times.
I was initially assigned section four for my presentation. The topic was Optimism. “Sweet!” I thought, as this is an area that I feel I know something about. I think part of me is genetically wired towards optimism and I believe others would generally say I am an optimistic person. It also meant I was going to go first this morning and then the rest of the day I could just sit back and listen to the others. I was feeling pretty good about my assignment.
On my way out of class one of the girls asked me if she could switch topics with me. She had to leave early today because her family is leaving tonight for London. There wasn’t anyone else left in the room so I pretty much had to say yes or I would look like a jerk. I know I would have said yes regardless because I generally like to help others. Being how sweet she is, it was easy to want to help her (helping the not so sweet people is a subject for another day and time).
She told me she had section eight but I didn’t think to ask her what the topic was. Later that night as I sat down to prepare I turned to section eight. The topic was on meaning. Specifically how having a clear sense of meaning in life leads to overall well-being as well as physical health benefits. It includes questions like “Does my life make sense?” “What is my purpose?”, and “Does my life matter- is it significant?”. “You have got to be kidding me” I thought.
Those of you that know me well are most likely laughing right now. You are laughing because you know those questions are my kryptonite. They are the questions I struggle with off and on year after year. Now let me start my saying I do know that my life matters and that it is significant. I do know God has a plan for me. I do know I have purpose. I also know to some degree that my life makes sense.
That being said, I often struggle with the idea that my life isn’t significant enough. That I have a purpose, but I am not necessarily living out that purpose. I also often find myself in my mangers office lamenting over whether or not what I do at work matters.
I can’t tell you where these struggles come from. Part of it I believe is because I am simply so grateful for my life that I want to make sure I live it well. I struggle with the years I wasted or the opportunities I walked away from. Again, I know that the wasted time, and the skipped opportunities were no surprise to God. I even know that it all fits together somehow in the end. I have to remind myself of those truths often though or I begin to spiral quickly.
I am pretty sure most of you reading this have at some point given me the “Your life matters” pep talk. Thank you for being the voice of reason when I start to question my life and my decisions. I would like to believe I will come to a place in spiritual maturity that I will no longer need the pep talks (see- I am natural optimist 🙂 but until that day comes (in heaven most likely) I am thankful for you all.
I am also thankful for God’s Word. When I question my purpose I like to turn to Ephesians 1:13-14 And now you Gentiles have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
There is a common purpose that we all share. That purpose is to praise and glorify God. During those dark times of doubt when I question the meaning, purpose, and significance of my life, there is one thing I can do that I know pleases the Lord. I can praise Him. I can worship Him. I can glorify Him. It may sound trivial, but let me assure you it is not. It is truly one of the most important thing we can do with our lives. It may even be the most important thing.
Sure, the plans, achievements, and good things we do with our lives are important. I am not saying we don’t have work to do. However, no amount of “good things” matter if they are not done for the glory of God and if we do not have a heart of worship and praise towards him. If God had to chose, I believe He would want our praise more than a good work done without the intent of glorifying Him.
On those days when I feel stuck in a rut or question my purpose I now spend extra time praising God through music and prayer. Amazingly enough, when I am done, the sense of meaning in my life is often restored as I have a new perspective. No longer do I focus on how small my life seems. Instead I am aware on just how big my God is. Without that revelation everything is pretty much meaningless.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for who you are. Thank you for creating me for a purpose and having a plan for my life. I praise you for who you are and thank you for the privilege of being able to come boldly before the throne of grace to praise you and worship you. Help me to see how big you are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grave, and A Purpose for Us All,