Have you heard people say they are on a quest to “find themselves” or “seek purpose?” I think we all spend a little time in our lives wondering about our purpose here on earth. We seek things that make us feel alive.
Some people feel they already know. They follow the teaching of Jesus and base their purpose on what the Bible says. These folks believe we are here to follow God and tell others about Him. They believe we are to love God and love others. They believe we are to live out the kind of life God dictates in the Bible.
But shoot, that ain’t easy, is it? I’ve personally found it nearly impossible sometimes. I am a selfish, self-centered selfie. When you live for worldly things and strive to care only about yourself, you end up feeling pretty numb. The opposite of alive.
However, getting on a good jag of following a straight path, doing what you’re supposed to do and turning from yourself indeed makes you feel lighter and more alive. And I think the only way to do it is to be constantly in prayer. Spiritual breathing. You have to call on God every second in order to live the way He wants you to live.
Again, it sure ain’t easy.
Humans are interesting folks, don’t you think? If you are careful, you can learn something by observing them. I’m not telling you to be judgmental, as that is one of my own biggest flaws, but merely telling you to observe and learn.
One of the first places to start is parenting. I can tell you it is very easy to get so caught up in your children that you start basing that “alive” feeling on your kids. You feel (as we all should) that our kids are the most special, the best and a cut above. We secretly look down our nose at other people’s children (as we should not) and compare our kids to those kids. Our child is the smartest, the best behaved, the most giving and the most of everything. We feel alive because our kids are great athletes, great students and great everything.
Some of us feel alive when we can achieve a degree of success. We have enough money to pay all the bills, afford the weekend home, the new car, whatever. We feel a certain amount of control over our life and have great pride in what we have gained through hard work and perseverance. We have “stuff,” and as long as we can afford stuff, it makes us feel alive.
There are folks who feel alive as long as their “self” is satisfied. There has to be a certain amount of comfort and needs met for the self-centered person. It’s all about them. As long as they are comfortable and everything is going their way, they feel alive.
As we grow older and when we realize we only have ourselves to focus on, we can fall into a world where destructive things make us feel “alive.”
I once knew a group of older folks who lived near one another. They could be fierce friends at times, helping one another out and taking care of one another. Yet, if any of them crossed another, watch out. Their friendships could reach enemy status at the drop of a hat. Fierce enemies.
These friends, although appearing loyal to one another, would either gossip or complain with just about every breath they took. None of them had much good to say about anybody. And woe to the person who did not agree or join in with the gossip or complaining.
Looking back, those folks were an interesting case study. One of them would fall from grace and the others would swoop in to demonize and rake the fallen friend over the coals. They’d meet in the street like a coven to squawk and lay rotten eggs.
Time would pass and for whatever reason, the fallen would return to the fold, only to join in with the old gossip/complaint forum again.
These folks, when things were going too well, would almost seek trouble. They would seek people to be angry at or have conflict with. The pot needed to be stirred constantly. They would relish the chance to bad mouth or be unforgiving and nasty. It was almost a sport to them.
The complaints, the stirring of trouble, the constant gossip made these people feel alive. Outside of taking care of their homes and themselves, they had very little in life. Creating their own little world gave them some sense of control and meaning and they felt alive.
That’s all they had in life.
Again, not to be judgmental. I think observing the people in our lives and seeing how people respond can be helpful. We need to pray for one another, regardless of our choices in life.
Above all else, we need to look within ourselves. What makes us feel alive? What is our purpose? What drives us? How do we respond to others? Do we have glad hearts and calm souls?
Each day it may change depending on those hearts. Depending on our mindset.
As I said, it ain’t easy.