I’m a sucker for self-help books and blogs that coach us how to live without regret and to make the most out of every day.
But I’m also a critic of this type of writing because its “no regrets” message is the candy-coating of a big, fat cultural lie.
We see the lie everywhere. It’s scripted on the pillows at Target, highlighted in every-other Facebook meme, and delivered in tear-jerking YouTube clips: “You can make your life meaningful with courage, good choices, and a great attitude”.
On one hand, this message is inspiring and empowering: I’d like to believe that I can shape my story and somehow guarantee my life’s meaning. On the other hand, it’s extremely discouraging because it’s impossible! The moment I try to put the tips and tricks into action, I only discover my weaknesses and limitations.
Whenever I try to make my life meaningful, I run into a wall.
My conclusion is that the job is far beyond me.
Without a proper view of God as the Creator, the job of making the day is up to us.
But we cannot “make the day” – let alone life – more meaningful by white-knuckling self-control, developing morning routines, meditating, or doing random acts of kindness. If this were so, people with health, energy, and privilege would be the only humans who’d even have a chance at value. I have to regularly remind myself that the weakest, least contributing person has as much worth and reason to exist as anyone else, and they certainly can’t Make This the Best Day Ever. This truth keeps me thinking more clearly.
Perhaps so many of us struggle with depression and a sense of emptiness because we’ve bought into the lie that it’s our responsibility to make every celebration, every vacation, and every decision the best ever to insure that our lives are valuable.
Talk about pressure… Talk about depressing… Talk about feeling meaningless.
What a relief to the weary heart simply to remember that God Himself is making the day for us so that we may simply live in gratitude and wonder, as humans ought.
The meaning of our lives is God’s domain and He alone redeems the moments and creates the legacies.
He alone records history as it truly is, deciding the worth of our decisions, vacations, celebrations and days.
It is God who establishes the work of our hands and gives us strength to accomplish it.
God gives beat to the heart, breath to the lungs, and value to every person.
Our responsibility then, is not to Make This the Best Day Ever!, but to rejoice in the day He has made for us, and to be glad.
“This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24