The late teens and early twenties are a time of questioning and experimentation for most of us. We’re just realizing that there’s a life outside of our parents and the way they raised us. We may try drugs or sex, challenge authority and tradition, question the beliefs we were raised with. Although we nearly always make mistakes along the way, I believe the process is a healthy thing, and the biggest tragedy is that we stop.
I’ve been working with people in a coaching, counseling, or ministry setting for about 35 years now, and so far I’ve never once been approached someone to try and resolve the meaning of life, or to start living in daily harmony with their meaning of life—which seems strange since these both affect everything in our lives! I’m not just talking about whether you believe there is a God or not, although that’s certainly part of it.
What I do mean is that every one of us is meant to search, research, meditate, pray, and reason until they believe they have found their worldview. And it is not supposed to be based on what we like the most or what is the best fit for the plan we have for our lives. Those are traps. The only criteria that should really matter is whether we believe it is true.
In the last 20 years or so, most of my work has been with people who hold New Age worldviews, and what many of them seem to want is to live in harmony with all worldviews. These days people seem constantly judgmental or angry for being judged, so I understand the desire for a worldview of nonjudgement and all-inclusiveness. I even agree with them insofar as we ought to be tolerant and respectful of those with differing beliefs, but far too often I see it taken farther, to the point of not distinguishing between worldviews or not taking a stance as to which are right and which are wrong.
The trouble is that almost all worldviews have at least one irreconcilable difference from most, if not all others. They are mutually exclusive, and to pretend that all perspectives are equal is just fooling yourself. We should all be trying to find the truth, and if one answer is true that means all other answers must be false, although of course, some false answers may be much nearer to the truth than others.
Of the people I’ve talked to in the last 20 years, 90 percent of them get up in the morning and their first thoughts are something like, “What do I need to do today?” The meaning of life is a question we all have to answer for ourselves. If I just gave it to you, would you really trust it? But I’ll tell you this: you will never find real satisfaction without applying yourself to a long, difficult, and sincere search. The best advice I can give you is to put in the time. Search with an open mind and heart and do your best to divorce yourself from that way you were raised or the culture you live in.
There’s an ancient manuscript that says if you do something believing it’s wrong for you, then at least for you in that moment, it is wrong. On the other hand, when you live in harmony with your conscience, and a worldview you truly, earnestly believe, you’ll start to feel better not only spiritually, but emotionally and even physically as well. My chronic migraines of four years did just that, my severe acid reflux, too. It’s like waking up in one of those 50s Disney movies with flowers and sunshine and birds perching on your shoulders.
Many of us have recently found ourselves with more time on our hands. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you use some of it to think, and think hard, about the big questions. It may just be the best time you’ve ever spent.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!