Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Meaning of Life

So what's the point? What about all of this - that we should love people and not help them, that we should be conscious of doing the Lord's work? What does it matter? What does it change? (These are references to the past two posts, in case you have not been reading along.)

On the surface, nothing. The same things happen. The same people are doing them. The same tasks are being accomplished. But the dynamics are wholly different. The relationships between people are different. The attitudes of the heart are different. And perhaps most importantly, your level of engagement with this world is entirely different.

The greatest single problem people have with their lives is that they are forgetting to live them.

That's why we have so many people wondering what they're doing here. Wondering if they're making any difference. Wondering if they're doing any good at all. Wondering if they matter. Wondering if they're worthy. Wondering what the meaning of all this - the meaning of life - is. 

The meaning of life is infusing your life with meaning. You do that by living conscious to it, by engaging your heart in every little thing you do, and by staying connected to the bigger things. That's it, really.

You know it's true. At least, if you've ever had a fleeting glimpse of this experience, you know it's true. If you've ever been a part of something amazingly holy, however small or large that thing was, you know that it changes everything to have been a part of that. You go into that holy moment with a certain measure of hope, but you come out of it with infinitely more. You take a step of faith forward and your very next step shows immeasurable confidence. You walk in thinking, "This is gonna be cool," and you walk out knowing whatever's coming is going to be awesome. When you give yourself over to a moment with pure meaning, you come out magnified with all the best things in your life overwhelmingly large and your heart filled to overflowing.

The funny thing is, you can never put words to it. You can have this moment once, you can have it a million times, and if someone asks you what a good life is, what the meaning of life is, all you can say is "This." It's this. You can't explain it, but it's this. And then, when you try to figure out exactly what this is, you still come up short. Something incredible has just happened, something tremendous, something holy and the only conscious thought you can actually have about it is how blessed you were to have been a part of it. You don't even have to be able to grasp how truly big the moment was; all you know is that it was beautiful and you were blessed to be a part of it and right now, everything looks different.

That's the meaning of life. It's moments like that. Imagine if you could have that moment every moment, again and again, throughout your days. Imagine coming to the end of your life and thinking back over everything you've ever been a part of and overwhelmingly knowing it's bigger than you ever thought it could be, but at the same time knowing you have no earthly idea how or why. Imagine being asked what you think about your life. Imagine your only answer being a wholly honest, "I was blessed to be a part of it." Imagine living the kind of life that lets you step out of this broken world with more faith, more confidence, more hope than you came into it with. How cool! 

So how do we get there? How do get to the place where our live is infused with that much meaning? Simple. We have to live it. We have to wholly live it, engage ourselves, throw ourselves into these moments by preparing our hearts for them. That's really what I've been talking about this week. Preparing your heart to live your life so you don't blink and miss it.

Preparing your heart to love people because this life is in the hearts of those around us. It's not in the inanimate or the intangible; it's in the indwelt. That is why relationships with people satisfy us on a deeper level than relationships with things, accomplishments in this world, or respects earned. And yet, people are the one thing it seems easy to miss. Which is why you have to choose to love them before you even get there. You have to make each moment fully about the people present. When you don't, the only person you establish a relationship with on this planet is yourself - what it does in your heart to do whatever it is you do - and you will never fulfill yourself. You can't. Your life will be tragically empty, and you'll feel that heavy weight. The missing piece is man. You've got to connect with him. You've got to love him.

And the other way you consciously live your life is to realize its infinite finiteness. It's to be aware of how big your little life can get when you focus on doing the holy work set before you, when you realize this moment is God's moment, when you humble yourself just to be a part of it. And when you know it's so much bigger than you'll ever know. It's a good thing. It is a beautifully good thing to be a part of God's work in this place. Don't ever forget you're doing it or your life will never extend beyond yourself.

I'll say it again: the meaning of life is to live a life of meaning. How do you live a life of meaning? By living conscious, by engaging your heart in every little thing you do, and by staying connected to the bigger things. That's it, really.

That's where hope and faith and confidence and beauty and blessedness and life itself are found.

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