Purpose and meaning
Trying to figure out what makes life valuable. And remembering of past various activities I did for acheiving personal goals I had set, and then I would afterwards feel that my life was valuable — that it had purpose and meaning. And so: work-toward-goals = meaning.
But now, probably because I'm older, this pattern doesn't make me feel purpose and meaning anymore. I'm having to redefine what purpose and meaning is:
Purpose and meaning is not derived from work toward goals. Rather, it is derived from being, from living life. The purpose of life is the living of life.
And so: I seek to ascribe meaning and value to each moment, as a practice of psychological mindfulness. (I'm not promoting religious or spiritual views of meditation, especially not eastern or new age views.)
. . . . .
This view contrasts sharply with what Christian preachers and teachers commonly say: that to please God we have to do something. But it's weird they would say this, considering that the core Christian doctrines emphasize faith, not works. Yet they seem to ignore this as they try to coax us into giving up everything to go into ministry or evangelism or some such.
An example from my life: I chose to move 50 miles away to be the worship leader at my former church rather than stay where I was living with my daughter (and wife) across the street from her (my daughter's) Bible college. She was young, too young for me to abandon her like this. I did it because I "heard the call" from God to do ministry.
And I'm not the only one; many well-known ministers will tell you that they chose ministry over their family.
You might object that people choose this path on their own by themselves because they are predisposed to it, without any influence from leaders in ministry. But in actuality, this impulse derives from hearing teaching and preaching from ministers they respect about how important it is to prove your love for God by not holding anything back from him, by being willing to do anything to serve him.
These pastors really, really, really need elders and deacons and worship leaders and others to keep their churches growing. And so, they put a lot of pressure on people to help, ignoring their objections.