Man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder-a waif, a nothing, a no man (Thomas Carlyle).
Many people are driven by guilt. They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success.
Many people are driven by resentment and anger. They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offence and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go.
Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Because things do not change, we eventually become bored with them and then want newer, bigger, better versions. It’s also a myth that if I get more, I will be more important. Self-worth and net-worth are not the same. Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!
Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless. When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable.
“I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense.” The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You will tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at that moment. People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much-and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.
If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. It is usually meaningless work, not overwork, that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.
The only time most people think about eternity is at funerals, and then it’s often shallow, sentimental thinking, based on ignorance. You may feel it’s morbid to think about death, but actually it’s unhealthy to live in denial of death and not consider what is inevitable. Only a fool would go through life unprepared for what we all know will eventually happen. You need to think more about eternity, not less.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths:
- First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief.
- Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.