people and their questions. purpose, take five.
Your worldview is your philosophy of life—the way you look at the world. ‘Could be a Christian worldview which begins with an all-knowing God as Creator, or a secular one, which probably does not. Either way, how you look at life on a daily basis is affected by it. Whether life seems to be ordered or random, including one’s idea of purpose, is affected by personal worldview.
Some people just ask the hard questions earlier in life, I guess. This one had a head full of blonde curls and big brown eyes; in every way, she was my own Shirley Temple. We said our prayers, I kissed her ‘good night’ and then she said, ‘Mommy, can you tell me why I am here?’ Sigh. And then the next night, thinking I had answered her sufficiently she said, ‘but Mommy, what is the meaning of life?’ Yes, I had a deep thinker, and she was only seven years old. Somehow she needed answers to these questions in order to make sense out of her young existence. That was 27 years ago, and she is my Amy.
Some people ask these questions when the bottom drops out of their life—you know, like when the person nearest and dearest to them dies too soon.
Still others ask it at about 23 years of age—college degree in hand, but somehow life isn’t spinning out as their career counselor OR they had planned. ‘I worked so hard to graduate from UCLA, get hired off campus and … for what? For this?’
And then, hitting ever closer to home is the 40ish-something woman whose kids are more-or-less self sufficient. She is bored with her husband, bored with her activities, fighting the encroaching effects of gravity and upon waking one morning, looks at the ceiling of her gray-blue bedroom, says, ‘Really? This is all there is?!’
The questions Amy raised at age 7 are fundamental to a meaningful existence, whether asked in youth, at some sort of wake up call or even when face-to-face with our own mortality.
So, what is your approach to life? Are you living for yourself or some one or some thing greater? And by the way, what comes after this life? Or do you think your 78+ years on terra firma is all there is? ‘Questions worth asking, questions worth exploring . . . and in my case, questions for which I had to supply substantive, meaningful answers.
Let’s go back some 27 years ago as I sat on a little curly-haired girl’s bed . . . in a pretty pink bedroom. When I looked into those much-too-wise eyes, what was my answer to her probative questions? Mind you, this was many years prior to Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life. I answered what I knew to be true, that which I could trust. So after I asked, ‘Oh, Amy, can’t we just play Barbies?’ and she said, ‘But, Mommy...' I launched in to the water.
‘Honey, you are here because God created you. You are different than anyone else alive, anyone that has come before and any that will ever be born.’ Okay, good.
And the next question: ‘what is the meaning of life?’ (or put another way, ‘what is my purpose?’) I knew that my answer would either satisfy her and she would be able to go to sleep, or she would lie there and think about it, be anxious about it, and continue to pursue her line of questioning the next night. ‘Amy, you are here—your purpose is—to make something of yourself that honors God. Yes, you are here to please God.’ And with that, she said, ‘Well okay then,’ and sighed; soon all I could see were two half-crescents of long eyelashes against her freckled cheeks.
The questions she asked were fundamental to the worldview Amy was developing. Looking back now, I can see how they formed a framework for living life and for setting her life’s goals. Whatever she did, ‘she worked at it with all her heart, as working for the Lord’ (Colossians 3.23), and to the very best of her God-given abilities--in academics, sports, leadership, but especially in personal integrity. And when she went to UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree in psychology, neither the liberal bent of the university nor her professors deterred her from her goal of glorifying/honoring God. She knew from whom she had come—God the Creator—and who she would spend eternity with—the Lamb of God—so her parameters were clear. So, if she ‘loved the Lord with all her heart, with all her soul, with all her mind, and with all her strength’, (as Jesus said was the first and greatest commandment- Mark 12.30), then she was on track. Yes, she was indeed living according to her purpose—the reason ‘why’ she was here. more to come on that
So, WHY ARE YOU HERE?