Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Religious Philosopher Blaise Pascal once said: “I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room…What people want is not the easy peaceful life that allows us to think of our unhappy condition, nor the dangers of war, nor the burdens of office, but the agitation that takes our mind off it and diverts us. That is why we prefer the hunt to the capture. That is why men are so fond of hustle and bustle; that is why prison is such a fearful punishment; that is why the pleasures of solitude are so incomprehensible. I believe that what Pascal is saying here is that we want to be busy, because when we are busy we don’t have to think about our lives; we don’t have to think about how we are unhappy; we don’t have to stop and reflect upon how we are not accomplishing much with our lives.
Soren Kierkegaard said: “The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do…to find the idea for which I can live and die.” We need to have regular times in our lives when we are quiet, and at peace, so that we can try to seek out what God wishes us to do. It is interesting that at the Harvard Business School, there is a workshop called “Age of Options.” This workshop is designed to ensure participants “that their next career phase is fulfilling” and has purpose. People are seeking for purpose in their lives, but the only real place to find purpose is to know God through Jesus Christ, and to do what God has created you to do. And to do this, you need to ask questions like: What is my passion? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What will I do with what I believe? What are my values?
The first step is to “make peace” with our past. Making peace is about learning how to get over the regrets of our past. We all have things that we have done in the past that we are not happy about; that we are not proud of. But we can’t dwell on the past. Since we can’t go back and undo past mistakes, the best thing we can do is to give the past to God, and know that God can use our past to help our present and future to be meaningful.
The next step is to "take time." Too often we don't take enough time on the things that are really important. One area where we need to “take time” is to get away from the crowd so we can regularly reflect on what is important in our lives. We can’t make time for the important things if we don’t know what the important things are.
Next we need to "be honest." In regards to moving forward into the life God has for you, you have to seek what is real. So to move forward, you have to learn who the “real you” is. This is also where a trusted friend can be invaluable. They will help us to discover our genuine self.
Last, is to "have faith." Our faith is important to us and will help us to have the strength we need to trust God as we move forward. Our faith also is what leads us to answer the important question, “What will I do about what I believe?” Letting our faith guide us will help us to listen better, and will help us to have a filter through which we can make the right decisions for our lives.
This idea of taking stock is what the psalmist was doing in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
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