It may be a cliche but the statement, “life is a journey,” is true. We are all heading somewhere and no, I’m not talking about heaven or hell or Nirvana or non-existence or whatever you choose to believe. That’s a discussion for another day.
Instead I want to look at this question as it relates to our everyday, 9 to 5, professional, personal and private lives. It’s something we need to think about as we make decisions about where to work, who to be friends with, what to do with our time and money. It’s a question you may not have thought too much about but eventually one that we all need to consider.
Here are three of the common answers to this question:
- I don’t know
- I forget
- Towards a greater purpose.
“I don’t know” is a common answer to this question. Many people live without an intentional plan. Life is something that just happens to them. Some are able to handle this with zen-like ease, floating from one event to the other, not caring about the future but living in the moment. Most people who live this way however are constantly reacting to what happens. It’s like they are swatting away one mosquito after another, just hoping they don’t get bit too bad in life. Crisis after crisis swarms around them and they end up exhausted from just trying to survive the soul destroying nature of work, conflicts and loneliness.
Living without a destination will often leave you lost and confused, unsure of the point of existence. Even if you are able to just take things as they come, eventually you will have a moment where the happy haze clears and you ask yourself, “how did I get here?”
“I forget,” is another way to answer this question. It’s an answer one of my daughters often tells me when I notice her absently wandering around our house. Many of us start out with a clear picture or idea of where we want to go but then we get distracted. Perhaps a new opportunity came along and steered us off course. Maybe a new relationship caught our attention and so we wandered away from what we wanted to become. Or maybe a few failures knocked us off the path, damaged our psyche and deflated our confidence.
It’s easy just to let the circumstances of life push and pull us towards other peoples expectations, desires and destinations for our lives. When we don’t have a clear idea of where we want to go or if we lose the map then we can look at the life we have and wonder, “is this really what I was going after?”
“Towards a greater purpose,” is an answer that most of us would like to give but many of us don’t or can’t. For some that purpose is found in their jobs, for others their families or even in their own self development. Having a purpose, dream or vision for your life has become big business with multiple authors, speakers and celebrities all trying to tell you the best way to find your WHY/PURPOSE/VISION/DREAM/IDEAL LIFE.
In a sense, this is the heart of spirituality. To find your place in the bigger picture and to understand what life is really all about.
Now, I’m not a big believer that everyone has to have a world-changing and awe-inspiring vision or dream for their lives. In fact, if more people focused on being good, kind and loving people instead of world-changing, innovative, famous and rich people then the world would be a better place.
I do, however, believe that all of us can be part of living out a greater purpose and walk towards a more fulfilling life.
That is at the heart of Christian faith and spirituality, that humanity is part of a greater purpose and we are all characters in a grand story that is heading towards an incredible destination. That actually gets a lot of people excited and makes them want to explore faith more.
The Christian understanding of purpose and journey believes these things:
- we were created for a purpose that includes knowing God, reflecting his image to the cosmsos and flourishing as humanity
- we are all lost in the journey and need to have our life GPS recalibrated and realigned towards the true destination of knowing God and following him
- we can only truly journey with others, life is not about individual success but community in action
- we become active participants in helping others find their place in the story and helping to heal the world around us
- we find purpose and meaning in this journey of healing, community and salvation.
If you feel a bit lost, distracted or unsure of where you are heading in life then we invite you to join us at Bratislava International Fellowship this Sunday (25 September) as we talk about the vision and destination for our community. It’s a journey of spirituality, community and service to the world around us. Its the path we are on and one that is open to everyone.
Perhaps you will find that this is the path you want to take with your life. The great thing is that you don’t have to walk alone, but you join a group of travelers who are all heading in the same direction. You don’t have to be religious to join us, just someone who is willing to explore the path with us. We don’t promise it will be an easy road but it is a fulfilling journey, one that has its ups and downs but also one that leads you to a life worth living.