I started reading "The Purpose Driven Life" a few weeks ago. I'm at a point in my life, where I desperately need direction and guidance from God, in trying to figure out exactly what the heck I'm supposed to do with myself and my life. Ya know, simple stuff like that.
No matter what you think or feel about the book's controversial author, Rick Warren, the book is really a great, thought-provoking devotional (besides the Bible of course), ideal for those like me, seeking some sort of spiritual direction.
Periodically, I'll be posting my reflections from my readings here. ***Spoiler alert! If you were planning on reading the book, then STOP reading right now and don't read any future-related posts! I don't wanna ruin anything for you. Don't say I didn't warn you.***
Chapter 5: "Seeing Life from God's View," talks about how determining one's life's view and how the way you see your life shapes your life.
It talks about how defining your life, determines your destiny, and how your perspective on life influences how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships, etc.
One of the best ways to understand other people, and yourself, is to ask:
"How do you see your life?"
According to Warren, most people often answer the question in terms of worldly metaphors..."My life is like a circus," "My life is like a minefield," "My life is like a party," "My life is like a roller coaster," "My life is like a journey." Okay, okay, you get the point...
These metaphors have way more influence than we may think. For instance, if you think your life is "like a party," then your primary motivation in life will always be about having fun. If your metaphor is "life is a battle or game," then your motivation will always be about winning.
The challenge is to replace those worldly metaphors with biblical metaphors.
Warren believes that the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life:
- Life is a test
- Life is a trust
- Life is a temporary assignment
Life on earth is a test. This is the view that I really want to focus on.
The metaphor of life being a test is mentioned more than 200 times in the Bible. 200 times! According to Warren, God constantly watches our responses to EVERYTHING: people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, etc. God was/is continually testing His children, mainly because He is building our character, but also to see how faithful we really are to Him, and to see if our claims of loyalty are all not just lip service. Tests are really a weeding out system, to reveal who truly, really loves Him.
I'm sure, I'm like most other Christians, who feel that their life has been a huge freaking test, well...all their life. I've even had a family member say that when they think of my life, they can't help but compare me to Job in the Bible. Now granted, I haven't experienced ALL the trials that Job faced (and I pray that I won't ever have to), but I feel my life always has this sign hanging over it...
It took years for me to fully recognize this. When I was younger, I took everything at face value and didn't realize the real meaning behind everything I faced. So the time when my so-called best friend betrayed me, wasn't really about how awful a person she was, but it was really a test to see how I handled the situation and to see if I really had the ability to forgive someone, who I cared about deeply, when they wronged me.
Knowledge is power. When I started understanding that EVERYTHING, no matter how minuscule it might seem, was a test, my perspective on life completely changed.
I realized that no matter what I'm faced with, I know that somehow/some way, God was trying to teach me a lesson and strengthen my character. Now that doesn't mean I've figured out exactly what the lesson is, I just recognize that it is a lesson.
So, to answer Warren's question, "How do you see your life?" Well, I see my life as a test. A test that I'm determined to pass...with flying colors. A test that my teacher will be proud that I did so well on.
My whole view on life has changed because I know that I'm looking through His view...He's my View Master.
So...how do you see your life?