A Life of Meaning
A friend is contemplating this question: How do I live a life of meaning? There’s been a lot written about purpose, but less about meaning.
Let’s define it first…
Meaning: “implied or explicit significance”
We looked at three choices:
- Self-Actualization – becoming all God intended you to be. Becoming a value-adding participant in your profession and living up to your full potential provides meaning.
- Others – giving yourself away to help others. Knowing that your life helped humanity and that you’ll leave the earth a better place provides meaning.
- God – loving, worshipping, and obeying God. Giving yourself over to God’s guidance and obeying Him daily provides meaning.
So which choice provides the most meaning in life?
I believe it’s the trifecta. It’s Victor Frankl being thrust into a place, albeit an unplanned and undesirable place, but realizing he’s uniquely prepared and qualified for the job at hand. He’s applying what he knows (and who he is) for the benefit of those God has placed him among.
It’s realizing you’re right where you’re supposed to be….you’re on a mission from God. He is holding you up. Every encounter, every activity is REAL, because it’s pure….it’s you, the person you’re serving, and God. You’re God’s hands and feet.
God doesn’t necessarily call the prepared, he prepares the called. And when we are “called according to His purpose” (which is to bring HIM glory) He prepares, provides, sustains, encourages and blesses. It’s in the moment, each moment. It’s not (necessarily) for the world to see. But it’s everything for the person in the crucible at the time.
In The True Measure of a Man, Richard Simmons says men are motivated by the need for affirmation. Meaning is experienced when the affirmation comes from God, from seeing your efforts make a difference to the people you’re serving, AND from knowing you’ve exercised your God-given talents and gifts. You know you have talents and gifts because you see the good work you’ve done. You see the impact on others, and that gives you a lot of joy. But you know it was God behind it all.
Meaning is doing something that matters. It matters to you, it matters to others, and it matters to God. It’s all three.