“Unique among living species, human life is aware of itself, yet we find ourselves in a world that doesn’t explain itself. So we’re impelled to ask why things are as they are and how we fit in.”
“This will to find meaning is ‘the primary motivational force in man,’ according to psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.” (Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search For the Meaning of Life,” Os Guinness).
“Meaning is not a luxury for us. It is a kind of spiritual oxygen that enables our souls to live” (Dallas Willard).
Abraham Heschel wrote: ‘It is not enough for me to be able to say ‘I am’; I want to know who I am and in relation to whom I live. It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?’”
3 necessities in living a fulfilled life
- A clear sense of personal identity: Who am I?
- A strong sense of personal mission: Why am I here?
- A deep sense of life’s meaning: What is the purpose of it all?
Superficial answers will disappoint us. We need tested and reliable answers to these questions if we hope to avoid the despair of cynicism or the delusional life of escape into unreality.
A cut and bleeding soul?
Describing his frustration with life , Augustine wrote: “I carried about me a cut and bleeding soul, that could not bear to be carried by me, and where I could put it, I could not discover. Not in pleasant groves, not in games and singing, nor in the fragrant corners of a garden. Not in the company of a dinner table, not in the delights of the bed: not even in my books and poetry. It floundered in a void and fell back on me. I remained a haunted spot, which gave me no rest, from which I could not escape. For where could my heart flee from my heart? Where could I escape myself? Where would I not dog my own footsteps?”
Our hearts are restless until…
It is of great importance that we look for answers in the right place—and recall the great prayer of Augustine: “Dear Lord, You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”
Our identity, mission and meaning.
“At the funeral of his father, management consultant Charles Handy suddenly realized how this modest man had affected the lives of hundreds in ways he had never imagined. “I realized that what one believes about life, and the point of life, does matter. I had put my faith, until that moment, in success, money, and family, probably in that order. I still think these things are important, although I would now reverse the order, but I hanker after a bigger frame in which to put them” (Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search For the Meaning of Life,” Os Guinness).
This describes most people.
They are missing the larger frame —into which all of life fits. What is that larger frame? It is found in seeing ourselves as God’s people – “the people whom” God said, “I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (Isaiah 43:20b-21).
We belong to God — He formed us for Himself. We exist to give him glory — to declare His praise.
Make the words of Isaiah 26:8 your purpose and passion — “Yes, Lord, …..we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”
This is the basis for a movement known as Generation 268.
Adopting Isaiah 26:8 as the defining purpose of their lives, these young people confess:
“Lord, Your Name and Renown are the desire of our hearts.” They’re saying, “We exist for You God– for Your glory, honor and praise!”
Lifted from the horizontal:
This is the “why” of life and it clarifies purpose and gives meaning to everything else. It connects the horizontal to the vertical; the temporal to the eternal, as we exchange a me-centered life for a God-centered life!
The larger frame
“Life for God, for His name and renown — for His glory — in all I do!” “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (Isaiah 26:8).
“There is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21-22).