My world revolves around questions.
All of these movements illicit questions.
I’m asking the questions and I’m being asked by others. Many of the tough questions have to do with broken relationships, financial struggles, family issues, broken dreams, personal struggles (i.e. anger, depression, substance abuse, feeling lost), feeling out of touch.
There are four fundamental questions that I see at work:
- who am I?
- why am I here and what is my purpose?
- where am I going?
- who is for me?
who am I
[This is only a summary, not an exhaustive set of propositions]
We are a sum total of our experiences, choices, body, thoughts, feelings, actions, relationships, spirit, and will. We are on a course of self-discovery from infancy until death. And we change along the way. We have needs, longings, desires that seek self-expression. We are connected to a community made of family, friends, coworkers, peers. We have talents, skills, and gifts to grow into. We are self-aware beings that seek to know. There are others along the path that have articulated their response to this question in richer ways. I’m only offering a brief thought.
why am I here and what is my purpose
We seek a sense of meaning and purpose beyond our “self”. While we are self-aware beings, we are curious about something transcendent, of worth and value. This is also about existence, right?!
where am I going
We long for direction, clarity, and vision in our lives. We can’t function without vision. We all have a working vision of our lives at this very moment. You’re living it out. Many times, I am seeking direction and clarity for next steps in my life. Every facet of my life asks for direction and vision: parenting, marriage, finances, health, faith, relationships, self.
who is for me
It’s not good for us to live isolated. Isolation leads to desolation. We are wired to be in community with others, to give and receive. We’re at our best when we know others are FOR US and when we’re FOR OTHERS. We will need encouragement, guidance, and support along the way.
If you could spend a few minutes in silence, listening to your self, you might come across these longings
1. We long for Love. This could be affirmation, belonging, acceptance, encouragement, community.
2. We long healing. Much of the work of Jesus was being a healing presence and then talking about it. This healing could be from past hurts, grief/loss, trauma, medical, financial, addictions, depression.
3. We long for meaning and purpose. This could be direction, clarity, identity, mission. We have a God given impulse to contribute to this world and find things that are bigger than us.
4. We long to be connected to a community of people that love us, see us, know us, value us. And we will want to do the same for others.
Here are some ways for you to reflect through these questions:
- sit in silence for a few minutes a day. The mornings are the best time for me. Breathe/meditate/pray/read a scripture or poem. Then listen to what your soul is trying to say. Be attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and body. Listen deeply. What comes up for you? Don’t be quick to judge it. Simply be present to it.
- Which question or longing do you most connect with right now? Again, try not to judge or critique which longing or question you most connect with. Simply be present to it.
- How might this longing and question connect to your current life context? What might be happening in your life that you are drawn to this specific longing and question?
- Pray for courage to respond to the invitation that the longing is asking of you.
- Connect with someone that you trust to share your experience with.
Many of these questions are birthed from my religious upbringing and experiences. I continue to follow the teachings of God found in the old and New Testament. I have made a vow to follow the teachings of Christ so I am constantly trying to submit my experiences to a framework from the Christian tradition. It has been a huge service in my life. I acknowledge that I need a Higher Power in my life—that my life has become unmanageable and trust that God can restore my sanity. I’m grateful for this walk of life.
I share this because I have many friends who are not religious. And yet we talk about all of these questions and wrestle with them together.