By Sherye S. Green
Now firmly entrenched in the middle year of the fifth decade of my life, the adage about quality over quantity is of paramount importance. More than ever before, I want my life to be meaningful. Perhaps those of you in this same season have peered down deep into your heart and have heard questions whispering, clamoring for answers: Am I special? Do I make a difference anymore? Is the work that I do valuable? Is this all there is to life?
The recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams underscores the deep need within every human soul to find meaning in life. All too often, I find myself grasping for markers of significance from the world around me. How many “Likes” and “Comments” did my last post on Facebook receive? How many text messages have popped up on my phone in a 12-hour period? How many emails arrived in my in-box from friends this week? How many copies of my novel have been sold? Although these markers, when measured, can provide a certain pulse of life, the standard by which significance is measured is skewed at best. I’m never going to find any lasting satisfaction in defining myself by the world’s standards.
My faith in the One Living God compels me to look for the answers to my questions only in the person of Jesus Christ. I should know better than to pay attention to what others think, having made a decision well over 40 years ago to follow the Lord, but how alluring are the charms of this world. I remind myself of a student in a class who simply chooses to ignore the teacher’s instructions for a project, and then wonders why a low grade on the assignment is the result.
I’m a morning person, and the early hours even before the sun begins to peek its bright, shining head over the cusp of the earth are some of my favorite. In those first few lucid moments that begin to form as sleep loses its grip on my mind and body, I thank the Lord that I am once again waking up in His beautiful world. This new day is His reminder to me that there is yet work to be done.
One of the great comforts that always comes from spending time in God’s Word is the reminder that I am not alone, that the same doubts and fears and questions posed by my heart have been voiced by countless believers living in ages past. A line in composer Tom Fettke’s stunning choral setting of Psalm 8, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name,” voices this same thought: “Oh, what is man, that You are mindful of Him?” And God’s answers to me are the same ones that soothed the ruffled feathers of so many real men and women whose lives are recorded in the Bible. Moses, the great leader of Israel, wrote in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Moses had it right. He set God’s ruler as the measuring stick of his life, not the drumbeat of the world.
I am learning in this new season that now, more than ever, I must keep my mind and heart focused on what God says about me as His child. Who does He say I am? A new creature…His perfect craftsmanship … a child of God … saved by grace … the fragrance of Christ in this world. What does He say should be a focus for this span of time? Trust in Me, Sherye, with every part of your heart and don’t ever rely on your tiny comprehension of this life. Give Me first place in your life, and I’ll put you on the right path. What holy work has He purposed for me to accomplish? Perform good works for Jesus. Use my freedom in Christ as a means of serving others. Find my life in what Jesus has purposed for me to do.
What constitutes a meaningful life for me? Reaching out to touch the lives of others; strengthening relationships with family and friends; sharpening the blade of my pen so that its words may encourage and inspire; devoting myself to prayer and ministry; putting feet to my faith; forgetting myself as I find others more important. If you’re grappling with finding genuine meaning in this middle season of your life, I pray you will ask the One who truly has the answers you seek. Because He loves you, yours is a meaningful life.