I think there are four things every person longs for in life. I see how the desire for these four things has shaped my own life, and I see it in so many other people’s lives too:
Intimacy: Everybody wants to love, and to be loved. We all hunger for relationships of intimacy, where we know someone else knows everything about us, understands us, and still loves us.
Community: But alongside intimacy, everybody also wants to be part of a family or friendship group where they feel they belong, where they have a place, and where they have real friendships.
Purpose: Everybody needs a reason to get up each morning. People want to contribute towards something worthwhile in life. This is usually found in serving others and making the world a better place in some way.
Growth: Everybody wants to feel like they are growing towards something. No one likes to look back to a year ago, or five years ago, and feel like they haven’t made progress, learned new skills, matured and developed.
This is one of the reasons many people look back to their times at school or at university. They had a very strong sense of community through their friendships, and they were studying so there was a sense of personal growth. In that youthful environment, having any intimacy and/ or purpose was a bonus.
As they grew older, perhaps they found an intimate relationship and got married, but they lost something of their community, and their commitment to growth. And if their job offered no sense of purpose, or their marriage lost some of its zing, they started to hearken back to their youth, and feel like they were missing out on life.
The truth is, the ultimate place for finding all these four things is in Jesus. Believing in him brings you an incredible intimate relationship with God. It brings you into a local community and a global community (both of them are called the church). Following Jesus means he will lead you to your purpose in life. And following Jesus leads you through constant new stages of growth and development as a human being.
Which of the four do you currently long for more of in your life? So will you turn to Jesus and find what you’re looking for?
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and has a biography on William Wilberforce coming out in summer 2014. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.