By Kelly Carr
One of the novels I read this year was written from the perspective of a character who worked in the advertising business. Through a humorous description of a commercial shoot gone awry, the narrator lamented being a single man in his 30s who spent years of his life promoting the nuances of diapers.
Like this character, I’ve heard on more than one occasion the similar concern of friends who question the point of spending much of their lives in jobs where they find no meaning.
Work is a topic that often receives this kind of evaluation because, for many people, so much of our time is spent on the job. But the same could be said of other aspects of our lives. What is our true purpose, anyway?
Chasing After the Wind
This problem is not new. Hundreds of years ago the author of Ecclesiastes composed an entire book about the point of life. He tried to find fulfillment in many things and ended up labeling them all “meaningless.”
The author tried to fill his life with wisdom but also gained sorrow. He worked and earned wealth but hated that he would only leave behind what he gained to be placed in someone else’s hands. He tried to fill his life with pleasure—laughter, substances, relationships, fame—yet he said this too was “a chasing after the wind.”
Through this poetic book of the Bible, we read about a person, just as in my novel, who was searching, desperate for purpose. His wandering soul could not find peace until he figured out the point of this life on earth.
Yet, like a good plotline, he eventually came to a conclusion: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Waiting for the Lord
Are you struggling to find purpose in some aspect of your life? Is it learning some new skill or studying for higher education? Is it your job? Is it not finding things enjoyable that you used to do for fun? Have you started down a road and now wonder why you took this direction?
Know that you’re not alone. Give yourself time to spill out your questions and frustrations to someone. Sometimes saying it aloud begins to help. Read the book of Ecclesiastes and be reminded that it’s OK and quite natural to wonder about your purpose.
How does the conclusion from the author of Ecclesiastes make you feel? Have you gone to God with your concerns? Have you sensed any answers from him? Perhaps God wants to teach you something during this time of yearning in your heart. Be open to the ways he is moving.
I hope the articles on this topic can give you new perspectives on the purpose of your life. And as you continue to seek answers, be reminded that you can gain strength from this waiting period: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).