Why Do I Even Exist?
Ever have one of those days when you wonder, "why on earth do I exist"? I have been thinking about it lately while driving in traffic, listening to the news, sitting at my desk, and even watching football. I caught myself singing "the ants go marching one by one" the other day. Endless streams of cars, all holding stories I will never be a part of, hundreds, thousands all going about their business, and I am just another drone in the line of mindless wanderers.
Like everyone I had my childhood dreams of traveling in space, living in the spotlight, doing something big, something that really mattered. I wanted to be a hero, saving humanity from an evil archenemy. My brother and I use to climb the TV antenna next to the house pretending to be Batman and Robin. As I got older reality set in and I had to put away childish dreams.
So why do I exist? Would I be missed? What would be lost if I hadn't been born? Egad! I sound like "Its a wonderful life." The older I get the more contemplative I become, and the legacy I dreamed never materialized. I had a big circle in mind, but find myself in a very small place. How did I get here, by design or mishap?
Of course the easy answer is that my existence gives God glory and pleasure as one created in his image. I exist to serve him through exercising my gifts, worshipping in his presence, and sharing the gospel. I exist to pursue his love and grace and pursue others with the same mind as Christ.
Knowing this to be true, then why do I feel, at times, small, insignificant, and lost? I suppose the answer lies within the context of misplaced expectations. My expectations were a big circle, but God intended me for a small one. I wanted the spot light, while God provided a flashlight. I wanted to change the world, but God wanted me to be content in my little corner.
I find it difficult to be restrained to the confines of my corner. My spirit wants to break free and solve the problems of the world, but my flesh is weak, ineffectual, complacent, and tired. I go about my daily tasks so that I can get up and do it all over again, and, as my neighbor Rick says, "life goes one."
King Solomon must have felt this way when he wrote Ecclesiastes. He had a big circle, yet even it was unsatisfying. "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind," Ecclesiastes 12:13.
Why do I exist? It may sound trite, but I exist to love God and love the people around me. Importance isn't measured in the draw of the crowd, but in the expression of love. I am to find joy, contentment, and happiness by passionately loving my wife, helping the poor, and reaching out to people in my small corner of the world. I am to find fulfillment in seeing my children and their children follow Jesus. I am to find meaning in the expression of my gifts wherever God places me. Employment, recreation, family, and even church are necessary because they are the context by which I can express love.
I still stop and think about the excitement of the bigger circle, but I don't think I was made for it. I fit better in this small corner of the world, and I am learning to be OK with that. I'm just saying...