What are you doing to make sense of your life?
We are all searching for something.
Some of us search for money.
Some of us search for someone to love us.
Some of us search for educational enlightenment.
Some of us search for peace.
Some of us search to hurt others like we’ve been hurt.
Some of us search for respect.
Some of us search for accomplishment.
No matter what it is that you search for, we are all looking for something to make sense of our place in the world that we live in. Things to answer the most basic of philosophical questions: Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? How am I to live the life I have?
There is a story told by the band Showbread in a concept album they came out with called Anorexia Nervosa that is a very unique take on the pursuits of man.
This story tells of two girls: Anorexia and Nervosa. Anorexia founds a hospital for children and tastes something sweet: Accomplishment. Accolade. Purpose. In it, she decides that what her life is missing is more and more of that. She decides that she must devote the rest of her life to building a tower to the heavens so that she will be remembered for the great things she has done. (If you were raised in Sunday School, this should be sounding just a bit familiar) After toiling her entire life for this goal, she realizes that her labor has been in vain. She cannot accomplish what she wanted to even though she has done everything possible.
Her sister Nervosa is quite the opposite. A prostitute by trade, she has decided that life has no purpose but to give yourself to everything offered to you. She decides to sink deeper and deeper into the ground by digging a pit to the center of the world. As she descends further and further, eventually, she has no way to return to the surface, and the earth swallows her up.
Crazy story, right? (I’ve left out lots of gory details for the sake of keeping it as G rated as possible)
But the genius in this story is in how it tells the story of humanity. In our pursuits to make sense of our life, we pursue one of two things: to be good enough or to do whatever we feel like. No matter how much good our lives amount to, it can’t add up to enough to be on par with a God who embodies the essence of what it means to be perfect, good, and perfectly good.
Giving yourself to things that feel good will accomplish exactly that: they will make you feel good. The problem comes in what happens after they make you feel good. You need more. You need something else. That must’ve not really been what makes you happy. As you descend further and further, those pursuits are worse than chasing the wind.
But the point of me retelling this story isn’t to get you to say, “Ah, I will never pursue either of those extremes.” The point of this is to inform your heart to its own deceit.
When you think you need to say something to that friend you’re just not sure about…
When you think you need to take matters into your own hands…
When you think this is what’s best for your family…
Your actions, if unchecked, are typically coming from one of these two extremes: trying to be good or giving into whatever feels good. Take a second. Notice the complexities of your heart. Give yourself a second to pause and approach God with what to do. Let him inform what is best rather than just doing what you think works in the moment.
As we learn to submit to what God is asking us to do rather than just autopiloting through every decision, we oftentimes find Him leading us to unlikely conclusions, seemingly silly details, and things that we easily could’ve missed otherwise. As we pick up on what matters to God in the crevices of our lives, we start to see Him at work all around us. No longer are we in this world for ourselves. We find our purpose, our life, and our hope in Him. In Christ alone.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” - Matthew 6:33