3 ‘Biggies’ For Your Life


As a Jewish man, Frankl wasn’t a Jesus-follower, but he was one smart guy and his insight into how we’re ‘wired’ certainly dovetails with the truth of Scripture.

As I was reading a little Donald Miller the other day, I came across this . . .

“Nearly 80 years ago, a psychologist named Viktor Frankl stood up to Sigmund Freud. Freud was saying that the primary desire of man was to pursue pleasure, but Frankl disagreed. He said the primary desire of every person was to experience a deep sense of meaning, and when they can’t find meaning, they numb themselves with pleasure.”

Frankl said there are three components of a meaningful life.

  1. A project that demands your attention: Simply have something important that you’re working on that requires you to get out of bed every day. Turns out we weren’t designed to sit and study our belly buttons. We need to find a useful purpose in the world.
  2. Unconditional friends: Life is best lived in community and so relationships matter. To experience a deep sense of meaning, we need to surround ourselves with people who love and accept us as we are. We need close, loving relationships.
  3. A redemptive perspective on our suffering: Life is full of challenges and sometimes even tragedies. To experience meaning, we must redeem these difficult things by finding a perspective on them that betters our lives. To experience meaning, we can’t let tragedies take us down. We need to redeem them.

Immediately, I saw the wisdom. I did a little checking on Dr. Frankl, who penned the classic Man’s Search for Meaning. As a Jewish man, Frankl wasn’t a Jesus-follower, but he was one smart guy and his insight into how we’re ‘wired’ certainly dovetails with the truth of Scripture. As a 65-year old, I’m so blessed to have a ‘project that demands my attention.’ I think of it more as a calling or destiny. Helping men grasp the overwhelming love of God . . . helping them find and follow Jesus, introducing them to ‘life to the full’ . . . that’s pretty important, at least in my book.

Learning to connect and be connected to like-minded guys, ‘doing life together,’ committing to loving friends no matter what they do and being there with them and for them . . . that’s a huge ‘win’ in this life. And to me, having a “redemptive perspective on our suffering” partially translates into Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Sure it’s a leap of faith, but if we take it we realize that everything happens for a reason and in God’s economy, it will “work together for good” someday, some way.

As you talk to your parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents . . . other older people you care about, poke around these three questions. God might just ‘turn a light on’ in their heart and inspire them to engage in something meaningful. He might help them toward new, meaningful friendships or to selflessly invest more in the ones they have. And imagine if they gained a peaceful perspective on suffering and loss just in time . . . just as the older ones in their lives enter the stage of life when people get hurt, get sick and pass on.

Isn’t it a great example of how God can take secular work from someone like Victor Frankl and work it for our good?

God is good like that.

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