How much of your life are you spending in meaningless activities and pursuits? If you read the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon (who was off track in his relationship with God at the time) lamented that everything was meaningless. Well, that’s definitely NOT so, but it would be easy to accidentally stuff your available time with actions that don’t matter that much or to lose sight of the purpose and value of those parts that do matter.
Over the holidays I’ve dug in deeper in my study of purpose and meaning, particularly as it applies to the workplace. The evidence is so clear that employees who feel that what they are doing has significance are the ones most energized for great performance, teamwork, customer service, going the extra mile, and a host of other desirable business outcomes.
My ongoing study on this important topic has me thinking about all the activities of my life, and I invite you to do the same. If you were to keep a record of every single thing you did on a typical day, then if you were to rate each action on a “meaningfulness scale,” what would you see? Now I understand that some things, you just do. You brush your teeth, which seems boring and routine. However, if you think about it hard enough, that’s meaningful. Who wants teeth blackened from decay or missing from that half-smile in the future? Yet it can feel like just one of those boring things you have to do at least morning and night.
Some things that we allow to occupy our precious time, however, don’t mean much at all. They have no eternal significance, and if they were not done, we would not even miss their effects a week, month, or year from now. In fact, some choices we make actually hurt others in the long run, doing for them what they should be doing for themselves.
The further problem is, when meaningless activities occupy a space in your day, they are effectively making impossible the inclusion of something of greater significance. They clutter up your schedule. You have the overwhelming feeling of being busy, but does it matter?
Some of my dear friends and relatives have received frightening diagnoses this past year, and they have come face-to-face with their own mortality. God forbid, if this had just happened to you, what would you choose to change about what you are doing? What “clutter” would you remove from your schedule? What valued experiences that you’ve neglected would find their way back into priority?
These are excellent questions to consider now, while there’s time. Don’t allow your life to “just happen.” Be intentional about creating a life that matters to you and one that matters to others.
Lord, I want my life to count. I’m asking for wisdom and discernment, God. I don’t want to miss a single assignment of Yours, and I don’t want to hinder that with anything unnecessary. Help me structure my life in Your will, my Lord. Give me the courage to clean out all of its clutter.