I'm really excited about a new series we've started in my Sunday school class. We are going to be going through the book of Ecclesiastes. I'm excited because something I have struggled with for a long time is sense of purposelessness and bordem that comes with the every day tasks of life. I often get into these ruts where I feel like I do the same thing every day and I really start to wonder..."What is the point?!" It's hard to be motivated to do much when you don't feel like there's any meaning behind it. Now, the solution should be obvious and I knew in my mind what the problem was and even how to fix it but sometimes God has to hit me upside the head.
We just did a basic overview of the book this past week. Just trying to figure out what the book is about. The writer (I believe it was Solomon but apparently there is some debate about it) is frustrated with the age old question: "What is the meaning of life?" He wondered the same thing I often do: Is there any point to what I do every day? (Ecc. 1:2-3 "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?") We came to the conclusion in class that the reason he felt there was no purpose in his life and all the pleasures of the world couldn't fill this emptieness he felt inside was because he wasn't living with God at the center of his life. Everything on this earth is temporary. How can temporary things ever bring lasting joy or satisfaction? It seems as though all we ever do is work to eat, eat to live, and live to work. An endless, dull cycle. If all we live for are the temporary things of life (i.e- a job, a relationship, money, possessions, entertainment etc...) we will be left feeling empty and when those things disapear or get old we cease to have a reason for living. Thus the feeling of "What's the point?" comes over us and we are unmotivated to live the life we are supposed to.
We received a handout in class and at the bottom was the following evaluation:
Complete the self-evaluation privately to help determine whether or not you are living with God at the center of your life. One indicates the statement is not at all descriptive of you; five meaning the statement is very descriptive of you.
I respond to difficult circumstances by becoming depressed.
1 2 3 4 5
I find it difficult to motivate myself to do mundane tasks.
1 2 3 4 5
I only think of God's presence with me when I am at church or with other believers.
1 2 3 4 5
I seem to be living from thrill to thrill.
1 2 3 4 5
I delay dealing with problems by immersing myself in hobbies or interests.
1 2 3 4 5
I lay awake at night while anxious thoughts flood my mind.
1 2 3 4 5
I don't spend much time in prayer.
1 2 3 4 5
If I'm being honest (and if you've ever read my blog before, you know that's what I strive for), I have to answer at least a 3 on every single one of those. Most of them are a 4 and a few are right on the nose...a 5. When I read those, it was like a slap in the face. Ouch... Yeah, this is me. I never realized it before but this is absolutely who I am. It took me seeing it to realize it.
I am an emotional person anyway but when God is not the center of my life I definitely find myself more easily depressed. I put God on the back burner all too often. I forget about Him until I'm at church or around godlier people. I do feel like my life is only interesting or meaningful when there is something big happening or there is about to be a big change. I definitely immerse myself in tv and celebrity obsessions to avoid reality. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep because I'm worrying over my future. Honestly, I fail when it comes to prayer. All those things are enough to tell me that God is not at the center of my life.
But the worst one for me was the motivation one. I am not a morning person....not even a little bit. But I realized recently that it goes beyond that for me. I find it hard to be motivated to get out of bed every morning. It comes from a mind set of "I don't have anything to look forward to today. I'm just gonna get up and do the same thing that I do every other day and what on earth is the point." What a horrible attitude for a christian to have. If God is at the center of my life and is the most important thing to me, then every day has meaning. I would realize that this day is a gift from him. While I really don't have any purpose on my own, He obviously has a plan and a purpose for me being alive today.
I would also realize that in order to live a meaningful life I need to focus on things that won't fade away. I need to invest my life in eternal things, instead of temporary. That's where true satisfaction lies. In living my life to bring glory to my God who saved me and loves me and takes care of me. Purpose is found in pointing others to my Savior. Whether it's by actually telling them or just living in a way that others will want the God that I portray. This gives a whole new meaning to going to that boring job again...while I'm there, I need to be shining the Light of Christ. God gives purpose to the mundane tasks of life and makes it worth it to get out of bed each morning.
He wants us to live an abundant life. Having fun and being entertained is not a bad thing in itself (unless your entertainment goes against God). But living to play is empty and vain as well. And while some temporary things are important, such as having a job to pay the bills, and fixing the car, and doing the laundry....if these things are all we live for life can get pointless and depressing. But God and His eternal purposes bring meaning to life. I hope this will help someone who is like me and struggles with these things. I will try my best to keep updating this site as we learn about Ecclesiasties in Sunday school each week.