A question I have wrestled with all throughout this past year.
What makes you feel alive?
I graduated from college almost exactly a year ago. Can we just take a moment. Time flies. I guess time flies even when you feel lost, when you feel like you’re wandering, and when you just feel like you’re kind of floating through life. That’s been me a lot of days this past year. And over this past year, in the many very dramatic moments I felt “dead”, I’ve reflected a lot on what it is that gets me going, what makes my heart beat and my eyes light up, what makes me feel alive. If I can just find that thing, then I can find a career path to match, and I can finally feel alive!
Much of the time, I struggled to find the answer. And a lot of times, I found myself wishing that I wouldn’t let my job affect me as much as it does – pleading with myself, “Please, don’t let it bring you down.” And some days, it really did bring me down. And other days, I was able to feel really good about not letting it define me. But the majority of the past 11 months has been me feeling like I’m just kind of…..there. Not really feeling “dead”, but not really feeling “alive” either. It’s not even apathy, or complacency, or contentment..it’s not much of anything, at all.
I’ve let the things that make me feel alive fade into the background, no longer enough to give me any lasting sense of joy. And the main reason for that is that that was the problem – placing my joy in things that will never bring me a lasting sense of joy, because they are temporal. Not eternal. And I hardly ever let them point to what would bring me that joy.
So what is it? What are the things that make me feel alive?
I think what it comes down to the most for me is genuine human connection. That’s what makes me feel the most alive. I love being creative – but what’s the most exciting to me is being creative with people who understand each other, who have a common goal. I love quality time and quality conversation – I can spend hours sitting in a parked car talking with my best friends and not be tired by the end of it..because I feel alive when we get to know more about each other and what’s going on in our lives. Learning American Sign Language and learning more about Deaf culture always excites me, because I feel like I’m connecting with these people in a deeper way. This love for human connection is what has kept me after church each Sunday for the past 3 and a half years hanging out with high schoolers. I’ve developed awesome relationships with many of them. They are my friends, my brothers and sisters, and trust me when I say I wouldn’t still be doing it if I didn’t truly love getting to know them and walking alongside them as they walk with Jesus. There’s a certain high I get when I feel like I’m connecting with people in a real and genuine way, whether through film, through learning, through conversation, through serving, the possibilities seem endless.
My answer is not “my job”, and I hope it never is. We were made for more than work and careers. We were not made for the purpose of making money. It will never be enough. It will never satisfy because in our flesh and human nature, we are greedy. We are always hungry for more. The human determination and willpower is a beautiful thing, but what are we really using it for?
This innate and intense desire for connection and deep relationships that I see in myself is only a faint, tainted, imperfect reflection of that same characteristic in God. I am reminded how much He wants relationship with us. How much He craves for us to know Him. How blatantly we as a human race have rejected Him, how we ran across the bridge and burned it behind us, and the price He was willing to pay to fix it – death, and His wrath poured out on His son.
I hope and I pray that I can remember what it actually means to be alive, and who and what I’m living for.
If you’re new to my blog, #WVW (Word Vomit Wednesday) is a fun little weekly challenge my friend Brian and I started to encourage more consistent and authentic writing. The point is to write down, or word vomit, whatever comes to mind, with lots of vulnerability along the way. Many have joined in on the fun, and you should too! 🙂