Let me be more precise. To live the life you were meant to live, there are two questions you must answer CORRECTLY.
They’re big questions – HUGE QUESTIONS – and we’re driven to discover their answers like a dog in heat.
However, unlike our frisky friend, most of us aren’t consciously aware of what we’re looking for. And unlike a horny hound, these questions which drive us will never be answered (correctly) through mating (though many try – again – usually unconsciously).
Indeed, you will only answer these questions correctly within the context of healthy, vibrant, intimate relationships with the most important people in your life.
Do you know what these two questions are?
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
Who Am I? (My Identity)
Do you know who you are? How would you answer that question today?
- Like a social media status update – reporting on what you’re eating or where you’re traveling
- Like a resume – citing your education and accomplishments
- Like an online dating profile – featuring favorite hobbies, preferences and pet peeves
- Like an album of selfies – focusing on your outward appearance: I’m beautiful. Now I’m cute. Now happy, hungry, sad, silly, sexy, seductive, sick.
A better thought: How will you be described after your death?
Here’s how Sara Virginia Batey’s obituary appeared in the Tennessean in July of 2013:
She is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Jackson Smith Batey III. Sara is survived by her children, Gloria Watts, Bill (Joann) Batey and Steve (Margaret) Batey; 7 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; 4 great great grandchildren; her brother, Jerry (Shirley) Jones.
No mention of Ms Batey’s education, hobbies or favorite haunts; not even a picture. The only part of Sara Virginia Batey that warranted mention after her passing were her relationships.
It’s not that other parts of her life weren’t important, but that what she looked like and liked to do; where she lived and labored wasn’t as integral to her identity as who she loved. And by “who she loved” we’re not talking about romance. We’re talking about family, and though they aren’t mentioned, the friends who attended her memorial service. Friends who loved her, not because of the impact she made on the world, but because of the impact she made on them.
Do you think it will be any different for you?
When you’ve passed on, do you think you’ll be identified more by what you did or by who (and how well) you loved?
Of course, maybe you have a “I’m going to change the whole world” mentality. To this, the Apostle Paul states plainly, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13:3)
Why Am I Here? (My purpose)
Do you know why you’re here? How would you answer that question?
- Accomplish tasks – get degree, get job, get spouse, get house, get record contract
- Pursue happiness – eat, drink, play, travel, travel with favorite actor
- Achieve status – education, career, dating, lifestyle, paparazzi
- Acquire knowledge – science, history, politics, religion, video game cheat codes
Rest assured, God has known since the dawn of time what you would accomplish, enjoy, achieve and learn in your lifetime, but the doorway to that self discovery is through healthy intimate relationships with the important people in your life.
Family, teachers, close friends, pastors and coaches; these are the people we need to help us find our purpose. For ultimately you’re not here for something as meaningless as serving “the man,” or even anything as grandiose as serving your country or all of mankind. You’re here to serve a rather small number of people who will attend your funeral and remember you when you’re gone.
This is why it’s such a tragedy when a man of great influence loses his family due to neglect. He may have achieved much, but that man has lost his purpose. As Jesus asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36 ESV)
This is why our soul longs so desperately for intimacy. As Paul encourages us, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1Cor 13:12 NIV)
You want to be known, so that you might know yourself – that you might fully grasp who you are and why you’re here.
But you have an enemy who never wants to see that happen. And so he will fight to keep you as far away from healthy intimate relationships as possible.
And he’s going to use intimacy impostors to achieve that end. He’s going to tempt you to seek out or settle for other relational goods, over intimacy. None of these other relational goods are evil in and of themselves (they’re “goods” and many of them are even needs), but when pursued in lieu of intimacy, these relational goods become idols which will prevent you from experiencing the healthy relational and emotional intimacy you were meant to experience. Which will keep you from ever discovering who you are and why you’re here.
In the coming weeks we’ll address several of them, but first we have to address this question: If intimacy is so important, why would we ever seek out or settle for anything else?
We’ll discuss next week, but in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on that question (or any other part of this post) in the comments section below.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!