(July 26, 2008)

At Living Room yesterday we talked about a topic that was prompted by Erwin Raphael McManus’s new book Wide Awake. We talked about what God made us to do. What happened to the dreams we had when we were young?

I was a bit worried about bringing up such a topic, knowing that for some of our members just trying to survive is an achievement. I had to be sensitive to where they were at. So I apologetically introduced this, telling the group I realized that it might be hard to think in these terms.

And indeed, as we started the session the eighteen or so people seated around the table just stared at me when I asked them if they had ever wondered why they’re here – why God gave them this life. My heart sank.

But as I carried on the topic – about how the world needs us and how we are all called to serve the greater good – the group gradually started to come to life. We explored the many different ways in which we can contribute.

In McManus’s words: “We need to live wide awake [and not just dream] because there are diseases killing millions and we need to find a cure, famines leaving multitudes starving and we need to provide food, economies leaving families homeless and we need to create opportunities for work and wealth, genocide that must be stopped, slavery that must be ended, water wells that must be dug, children who need to be loved, relationships that need to be healed, elderly who need to be cared for, beauty that needs to be created, futures that need to be saved, and dreams that we must not let die or go unfulfilled.”

And when you think of those times when you’re not well – depressed perhaps – you should realize that “there is never a point in your life where you lack value or significance. There’s always something for you to contribute.”

In the end the meeting turned out well. Many contributed to the discussion, talking about how they have benefited from doing volunteer work, from helping others. We talked about how good it is to wake up in the morning with a purpose in mind. We talked about how living for this purpose is healing to us, especially when the focus is on others.

What do you love to get up to do? How do the activities you do for the greater good contribute to your wellness?