The past 50 years has seen a major paradigm change in American. Used to be, we were satisfied with settling down to life as it existed. It may be college, or a factory or service job. Most of us got married and had kids, bought a house, and lived life enjoying the stability.
The paradigm change has been that people search to find meaning in their life instead of letting meaning rest in them. They want to make a difference. I encountered this with a young man who was going to graduate from high school last year and he was worried that his life would be nothing more than “I think therefore I am.” My body functions, my mind has thoughts, and I live with my desires and the environment I am in, but does it make a difference. A sad thought if that’s all life is.
Recently, Relevant Magazine presented an article about how the search for significance can also have a negative side (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/20665-trapped-by-the-search-for-significance). It is worth reading.
People want their lives to be more than just existing. As the Relevant article begins, “I have an insatiable need to feel extraordinary….” That’s where we’re at in our culture. I want to make a mark and be remembered for something significant and feel that I have done something significant.
We are significant to God and our lives no matter how extraordinary we feel, are just that, extraordinary. I get a sense of satisfaction when I impact someone’s life positively. I work with teens who have attachment disorders (For a definition and description click on this link; http://www.helpguide.org/mental/parenting_bonding_reactive_attachment_disorder.htm). My main role with them involves as many as three elements; leading spiritual time and dealing with spiritual issues, being an encourager, and at times counselling from a Biblical perspective. I see change in some the students and I understand that I have impacted some of them. That makes me smile, because I know I have been able to help them, but I do not do it because I am searching for any sort of significance. I get my significance through God and Christ.
I want to make a difference because God intends to redeem the world. The impact I want to make in this world is what God is doing. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent,” (New Living Translation). God wants to save everyone. His desire is to redeem each individual. My satisfaction isn’t that I have done something that impacts someone, but that I have been saved by God, gifted by his Spirit, and he does incredible things in and through me and sometimes without me.