What is the Meaning of my Life?
It seems in life that the more things change, the more they stay the same. That may be a cliche statement, but it’s also true. I clearly remember myself as a child questioning the meaning of life. Searching the scripture for answers, looking in nature, my interests and my talents.
Then, in the teenage years, I tossed all those questions aside when I met my future husband. For a while, I no longer asked the big question: What is the meaning of my life? I felt fulfilled with him alone. Since I no longer questioned meaning and purpose, I didn’t put any more thought into what my career would be than what google told me would be stable and pay well. That reminds me… If you ever come across an 18-year-old trying to determine the course of their future by asking a search engine… kindly interject and redirect.
For a time, I found perceived meaning in that google-decided career. I “climbed the ladder” as high as I could within a few years. I was called “supervisor” by about 60 people by age 23. My husband and I bought a home and a couple vehicles, and (don’t laugh too hard at the misguided notion I’m about to share) I thought I had it all together.
Can I Create My Own Meaning?
But, underneath my careful facade of control, the questions were bubbling up again. What was I doing? Did I have them all fooled? Will my carefully constructed house of cards fall? The big question was back. What is the meaning of all this? Of life? My life? I lived with the unsettled and unstable feeling that I was missing not just something… but THE thing.
I had faith at this time. A comfortable, pull-it-out-when-I-want-it kind of faith. The kind of faith I paid lip-service to, but not actual life-service. I mistakenly thought I had plumbed the depths of that faith… but I soon learned otherwise.
My oldest son was born… and with him, for the first time, there was born a real pressure and challenge in my life. I was faced with illness, both my child’s and my own. And then, more than ever before, the big question screamed to be answered. At that time, I felt acutely what William Lane Craig so clearly described: “The entire universe marches irreversibly toward the grave.”
In a painful, yet grace-filled way, God stopped that death march for me. I was shown that I couldn’t create my own meaning in life. I had tried to find meaning in skills, marriage, career, control, and motherhood. But I realized that any feeling of fulfillment only lasted as long as a moment… and then the search was on again.
But why? Why couldn’t I (and why can’t you) create meaning in my own life? It’s simply because all of the meaning I tried to create was subjective. Subjective meaning doesn’t last, and it isn’t real. What I craved- what we all crave- is objective meaning. I learned that a created being cannot create her own objective meaning. The only one who can bestow lasting, true, intended meaning, is a creator.
The True Meaning of Life
Just like 100 different people could come up with 100 different meanings for the same painting, so could I come up with 100 false and temporary purposes for my life. That painting has objective, intended meaning that the artist gave it when she created it.
In the same way, God created me and knows objectively what I’m intended for. Without him, I keep swinging at air. But with him, I’m deeply rooted, deeply joyful, and so confident that I do have purpose, value, meaning, and the promise of true life… rooted in my creator, and the one and only God.