We are talking about the question: Is your life worthwhile? In Part 2 we said that what we need in our life is to take time for solitude.
We read in Isaiah 55:3 (Living Bible): “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake.” A lot of us are terrified of being alone and quiet. It seems we cannot function without noise or people. If we don’t slow down and retreat, we won’t ask ourselves the most significant questions of life. We need to create time for solitude.
Be practical—for a couple of ways of putting solitude into your life, try some:
1. ‘Mini-solitudes’ every day
- a few moments alone in a quiet car
- a walk in the early morning
- a time of thinking and praying, sitting on your bed for a while.
Seize these moments and focus on your soul.
2. Larger blocks of solitude
These times will only happen if you plan them boldly into your schedule. For example:
- Write solitude in your calendar.
- Get away for 2 or 3 hours-a-day.
- Take a whole day and reflect on your life.
Get a pen and paper, reflect on your emotions and write them down:
- Are you bitter or angry?
- Are you loving?
- Are you sad?
- What do you hope for?
- Are there people in your life you need to get things right with?
- Do you need to say, I love you to someone?
Ask God to show you these emotions. See, we need to make a space for God to speak into our lives. We can’t seize life without quiet time with God. As Isaiah says: “Come to me with your ears wide open.” And then in Proverbs 16:3 we have this marvellous verse: “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.”
Discover God’s Purpose in Your Life
1. Does your life honour God?
We must remember God is the One who made us up. He placed us on this earth for a reason and a purpose—he placed that dream within us. And our job is simply to discover that purpose and dream and carry it out! Let me ask you this:
- Do you serve people with love and kindness?
- Do you care about the people you work with?
- Are you honouring God with the money you earn?
- Are you developing people to their highest potential?
- Are you helping the hurting and needy?
2. Are your plans aligned with what God wants for your life?
We need to ask ourselves:
- Why do we do what we do?
- What are the motivations that drive our life?
To be clear on motives, we must be clear on God’s place in our lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Those who follow Christ become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”
Tony Campolo describes ‘becoming new’ like this: “There is a passionate love for God that He creates in us when we surrender to Him. It is this love for Him that is the basis for a whole new way we can look at life. The God who calls us into that intensely personal and passionate relationship with Himself transforms us through that relationship so that we can encounter everything else in our lives by that same passion.”
Allow your life today to be open to God. Give him the freedom to change and forgive; to open up areas; to build your life the way he wants. When he has the controls, when he’s driving the car—guess what happens? His plan and his vision becomes your plan and dream and vision. As Proverbs 16:3 says: “Commit your plans to God and they will succeed.” Honour God with your life and he will honour you for a lifetime. Offer your dreams and your life to God.
3. Why did God put me here on this Earth?
What a marvellous question that is! God wants us. He wants our life. He wants to be in relationship with us. Some of the most basic questions are:
- Does my life matter?
- Why was I born?
- What is my purpose?
People have fretted over these three questions ever since the beginning of time. We can think that Eve, in the Garden of Eden, was insecure about whether her life had any meaning. Adam had to constantly reassure her. The prophet Jeremiah was absolutely devastated at one time of his life and, as we read in Jeremiah 20:18, said: “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace?”
Jeremiah was just emotionally lost. God called this gifted man to be a prophet, and it was a thankless task. His friends have betrayed him; his enemies are on his tail. The message God gives him to share is a wretched one, falling on deaf ears. So even one of God’s chosen few can wonder about the purpose of life.
Some people fall into a materialistic mindset and begin spending their entire lives on things—pleasure, sex, vacations, drugs, gourmet food. King Solomon went down that road but he changed his mind later on. Rock stars, who have all of those things in abundance, often are found dead in a hotel room with a rope around their neck. Many times we seek fulfilment through success and achievement. If we try to find fulfilment from things, there are just never enough things.
Why does God place us in this precarious world? Why are we here?
On the Everybody Loves Raymond TV show, there was a cute episode years ago, where Ray thinks his little girl Ally is trying to find out where babies come from. That scenario is good for some cute fumbling. Actually, Ally wants to know a much deeper thing: why are there babies? Why does God keep causing new children to show up in this world? What is their purpose of existence? For you and for me, I think we all know how babies get here. But why is our question too. Why does God place us in this precarious world? Why are we here?
If you’ve ever read through the popular bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life, you discover by the second chapter a huge paradigm shift. The whole argument is turned around. We’re not here for any purpose of ours! None at all. Instead, “I was created for God’s purpose.” He put us here for his reasons, for his purposes, to meet needs and goals and objectives that are his, not ours.
To ask, Why am I here? and be thinking of myself as I ask the question is simply beside the point. We were created for him—as Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord has made everything for His own purpose.”
(To be continued in God Says You Are Worthwhile – Part 4)