By: Josiah Mohr

There is a great disparity between the expectation of what life is supposed to be and what life often actually is. How many of us have been asked the age-old question, “So, what are you doing with your life?” How many of us have wondered if that is even a question that should have definitive, quantifiable, and finite answers that name our fate? These questions are obviously prevalent for 20-something college students, with the “real” world approaching all too quickly.

But these questions have implications for a far larger audience than just young adults. In every stage of life, we have moments of greatly clouded vision in which we feel like we are doing little more than surviving until the next day, the next week, the next month, maybe even the next year. Some people may call this lack of purpose going to college, graduation, mid-life crisis, going back to school, switching careers, or retiring. Needless to say, we all have times at every stage of life in which we feel depressingly void of purpose. This does not mean, however, that these periods are not without value. So I want to ask and perhaps find some insight on the question: How do we define the value of our time even in the absence of direction?

The most valuable commodity in our society is time, so much so that the way we spend our time often becomes what defines us. We are always told that we need to be productive, to apply ourselves to worthy causes, and to achieve goals. But what happens to that expectation when we don’t have a discernible goal? What if the means are without a current end? Can the lack of an end goal somehow justify the means of our lives? In almost every way our society thinks and operates, in everything from sports to business, a lack of vision equates to one thing: failure. When we lack a vision for our own lives, we are quick to assume the same—that failure is the inevitable result, that we will be overrun by our fast-paced society, and that our absence of direction will lead to a lack of productivity and contribution. It is here that we quickly become overwhelmed by the pressure to have life all figured out.

Fortunately, the absence of direction does not mean that we are destined to fail. In this, the ends cannot justify the means, so the means — our investment of time despite the lack of a discernible vision — must be justifiable in and of itself. Our time must be considered valuable based on the dedication of each minute, each hour, each day, each week, and so on. As the great musician and theologian, Jon Foreman, so insightfully penned, “I dare you to move / Like today never happened before.” Dare yourself to move, even against the culture if you wish. You don’t have to move quickly; just by moving you will gain a new perspective on your current situation. Even if your movement is slow or circular, your two-dimensional situation will suddenly become three-dimensional.

The greatest value can be found here in the smallest investment of time and movement. Take that minute to answer and ask in return, “How are you doing?” Take that hour to talk about life and tell stories. Take that day to go on an adventure. Take that week to travel to visit family. These moments have nothing traditionally “productive” about them. They don’t achieve any prescribed “goals.” They don’t even tangibly “contribute” to the betterment of society. But as these activities add up to months and years and decades and lifetimes, your perspective will gain more angles, your perception more depth, and your inspiration higher aspirations. The result will be ideation, passion, and ultimately vision. It is here that the value of your time is defined, not by the proof of a vision, but by the challenge and the daring inspiration of your movement.

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