From time to time, most of us experience days in which we feel our life activity has no purpose...no real meaning or direction. We just "keep-on-going" and doing what has to be done. We feel like a leaf that has fallen into a lake and is stirred "here and there" by the waves and ever changing breezes. And into most lives there come extended periods of time in which a person has to endure such meaningless lack of obvious direction and purpose. For me today, maybe it's just the "dog days" of summer, but such days do seem to be part of the human experience.
For the Christian there is a great temptation to sense this experience as "aloneness". The writer of the Psalms cries out to God, "Do not abandon me" (e.g., Psalm 51:11). The thought of just living out the day in such a reactionary and directionless manner emphasizes the magnitude of this common problem. Like weeds, it grows in importance and may rob our lives of the vibrancy which can be LIFE-itself. Many people "throw in the towel" to such dark experiences and use alcohol, substances or forced excitement and activity to numb such feelings. But these are only temporary band-aids in an attempt to cover over the feeling...no real solution.
As a Christian, I have a choice. I can apply such band-aids to my feelings of purposelessness...maybe say a little prayer and then go right back to my "leaf-float" posture and let the ordinariness and problems of the day push and shove my life (and spirit) around willy-nilly like. For those who profess the Christian faith, such behavior is comparable to being a "functional atheist". (Meaning that I believe in God, but in this matter, well, I just have to get along by myself and somehow get through this depressing day of adversity, suffering or just plain "shit".)
But as a Christian, I have another option when faced with a day of meaningless life problems. As soon as the pattern for the new day is recognized, a person can be honest with oneself and call the situation as it really appears.
Maybe it will be a day filled-to-exhaustion with activity, reaction to problems and people, ups and downs, seeming endless and unchanging or full of "go-no-where" activities...OR
Maybe it will be a long day with lots of holes to fill, not much action which seems to have purpose and direction, or just plain boring and maybe even another wasted day of life!
The advantage of looking at the day-ahead and recognizing what it REALLY contains for us is the fact we are being real about the day's possible experience. Doing that allows us to be "in touch" with the TRUTH of this day and allows us to acknowledge and live in the NOW...in that very moment of time. This allows us to honestly face the day with realistic perception unaltered by any of the band-aid tricks previously mentioned.
So now that we have faced-up to the reality of the NOW in our life, can we find some purpose in our day-ahead?? And even more important, WHERE do we find this purpose??
As Christians, we have the assurance that we are alive today because of the creative and supportive love of God. I did not create my "being alive for this new day" by some magical thing that I did while asleep! I do not have the power to grant myself a new day of life. Only God can awaken me to a new day of life each morning..and yet God does! Well, does God do that to wear me down mentally and physically...to frustrate me with endless problems...to pain me with constant suffering...or to simply bore me into a numbed state of hopelessness?
As believers, we KNOW WHY God created this new day for us. Our experience and the Scriptures clearly tell us that God wants...
MORE relationship with us,
BETTER relationship with us,
and our increasing DEPENDENCE upon this divine relationship.
This is a relationship in which we TOGETHER WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD join in fulfilling the purpose of God for this day!
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR TODAY and your meaningful behavior in it. There are things for you to do and matters about which you are to speak, people with whom you may positively interact, opportunities for spiritual growth and the chance for you to discover the reality of the Christ Spirit in you as TOGETHER you express God's purpose in the world. God wants to grow our individual relationship more and more completely into the PURPOSE, PRESENCE and PLAN of the Divine One! This is acomplished day-by-day as we realistically face our daily activities in a full recognition of WHY we are doing them, and with WHOM we are living-out the day's experiences, and the PURPOSE for which God awoke us this morning!
This is not "functional atheism", but rather it is the decision to live each day with PURPOSE and to embed my daily activities into the divine plan to bring all of creation into a more perfected relationship with the Creator God. So regardless, if my day-ahead appears to be boring or filled with difficult opportunities or uncertainity, I can enter this new day with the Christ Spirit and watch how God can change a "lemon-type-of-day" into sweet lemonade! But I must keep my attention focused upon the One with whom I walk and not be pushed and shoved-about like a leaf floating on the pond of life's difficulties.