Meaningful or Useful? The Right Focus Brings Freedom

Life has no meaning the moment we lose the awareness that we are eternal beings. -@KarenZeigler tweet

Meaningful or Useful? The Right Focus Brings Freedom

We (humans) ascribe so much meaning to things. Yet this computer that I am writing on, the table on which it sits and even the home in which it is inside of has no meaning. That does not mean that they are not useful. Of course, they are useful for recording my thoughts, eating meals, and safety from the elements or others. Likewise, it’s a place that has been home to many great family memories. But there is a distinct difference between useful and meaningful.

Useful – being of use or service; serving a purpose

Meaningful – full of meaning, significance, and value

The difference between useful and meaningful is how it spans time. Useful things are temporary. Meaningful things (which are not really things at all) are for eternity. Things like the human spirit, love, and generosity. Even sins span time as they can pass from generation to generation. We live lives of meaning when we are loving, kind, generous, gracious to the humans in our lives.

Ascribing meaning to things that are only useful gives focus, attachment, and turns them into an idol. Attachment to idols imprison us and keep us from the freedom which we are intended to live in. True freedom is free from attachment. Living meaningful lives of love, generosity, etc. are limitless.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on the important things in your life

  1. How have you deemed them as meaningful when truly they are only useful? Note that they are meaningless. Express gratitude for their usefulness but separate them from what is meaningful.
  2. Be aware today when you begin to look on things fondly. Remind yourself that it is useful but not meaningful. Then shift your focus to what is meaningful in the present moment.
  3. How can you be intentional about focusing today on what is meaningful? Take note of how the truth of this shift sets you free.

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