Does my life have meaning?


Does my life have meaning?

Our lives are filled with noise. At no time in history have humans been so inundated by technology and information. This generation, more than any other, suffers from “nomophobia,” a feeling of anxiety anytime they are separated from their mobile device. According to Barna research, more than half of teens use screen media four or more hours per day (57 percent).The at-your-fingertips access to information drowns young people in a tsunami of unfiltered ideas. We expect students to have an astounding level of discernment while sifting through the information.

Political ideas found on Twitter tell students how to think. Lifestyle ideas found on Pinterest tell students how to act. Adventurous and filtered Instagram photos teach students how to live. As students rely on media coverage and social news, they begin to lose their meaning, rather than attain their goal to find it.

Students need to know that they have an incredible calling, their live has meaning, and that they bear God’s image.

How do you, as a youth leader, cut through this noise with meaningful, credible, and trustworthy ideas?

The answer is simple, but not easy: young people need to see kind-hearted, meaningful exchanges about life, faith, and what matters. God is personal. Jesus promises that we can experience his presence wherever we go as his disciples (Matthew 28:18–20). As you interact with students, find opportunities to point out where and how you see God at work.

In Genesis 3:17, God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” We work hard only to see minimal fruit, and can sometimes feel like our purpose is meaningless. But through Christ, we can regain God’s calling and trust in him to bring meaning to our purpose. On a wooden cross fashioned for humiliation and ugliness, a hardworking carpenter-God rescues us and fashions for us a holy calling of purpose and grace (see 2 Timothy 1:9). Through God’s calling on our lives, we are secure in our identity and live with a goal to serve God alone.

Christian Worldview Key

Students need to know that they have an incredible calling and that their life has a meaning as they bear God’s image. Here are four things students can do right now to hear Jesus’s call:

  • Tune in to God’s revelation in creation. Take students outside to look at the sky, dig in the dirt, breathe in the fresh air, and just experience the complexities and creativity God has provided for them to experience.
  • Start discovering your unique design. Help students understand that God loves and created each of his creations and children with a unique design to accomplish a unique purpose. Start a conversation with students and ask them questions about what they like and how they care for others. Then point out how useful each perspective is and how God will use each student to reveal something about himself.
  • Rethink the value of work. Ask students about the importance of different career paths: doctors, librarians, construction workers, coffee baristas. Explore with them how the influence each of those people can make an impact for the gospel each day.
  • Find activities that combine your unique design and work: Encourage students to find activities that challenge them and give them immediate results. For students who love to lead, offer them opportunities within the group to organize a game or ice breaker to lead with the group. Other students may need a more behind-the-scenes opportunity. Ask these students to welcome new teens who come to your group; this will challenge them to get out of their comfort zone and build community.

Message for Students

It’s through our calling that God shows us the way to meaning. In your search for meaning, listen for the voice of God, not the counterfeit voices vying for your attention. He will lead you to discover what you were made for. That, and nothing else, will define the meaning of your life.

Jeff Myers, The Secret Battle of Ideas about God (Colorado Springs, Colorado, David C. Cook, 2017)

Portions of this section come from chapters 7 and 8.

NOTES

  1. Chris Turner, “Ultimate Purpose and Meaning: Some Say They Pursue It, Others Do Not,” (LifeWay, December 27, 2011).