We live in a culture where many are outraged at injustice yet doing nothing about it. This is understandable because it is far easier to be angry than to care enough to take action.
The way to the most meaningful life is to be brokenhearted by the lost, weak, and disenfranchised. But don't simply grieve injustice, evil, and suffering. Anyone can do that. To live meaningfully, you must stand and fight. But don't fight with anger or outrage, or you will be adding suffering. Fight with kindness, service, and by taking responsibility.
Don't seek status. Invest in service. If you lack meaning or purpose, you likely aren't serving others. To have a meaningful life, you need to focus on something bigger than yourself.
The best people to serve are those who need help and cannot overcome their struggles alone. Adopt a child. Serve the sexually broken. Give to the poor. Love on and laugh with the disabled. Grieve with the brokenhearted. Be generous with widows. Spend time in hospitals and prisons. Volunteer your time helping those in need.
Wisdom is not primarily found in seeking out the most powerful, wealthy, and networked. Find people on the bottom and at the edges. Slow down and spend time with them. Hear their story. Give them the dignity they deserve.
If you realize you are not living as an advocate for the hurting, pray for opportunity and willingness. Then get ready for an adventure. Serving the weak is an adventure in prayer because you cannot relieve all suffering, and you will need to depend on God to do for you what you cannot do for others. Serving the weak exposes your fears, your control, and your selfishness. Serving the weak is an invitation to deepen your love.
Your life will expand to the degree that you take on the responsibility of taking meaningful action to empower others who need help. Get strong in emptying yourself and serving the weak. You will see yourself in them and better see your own weakness. In your growing humility, you'll find strength, better see yourself, and experience God more vibrantly.
Suffering by taking on the burdens of the broken is a necessary and wonderful part of flourishing.
If you pay attention, beneath outrage is the opportunity to love.
"Those who have entered deeply into their hearts and found the intimate home where they encounter their Lord, come to the mysterious discovery that solidarity is the other side of intimacy. They come to the awareness that the intimacy of God's house excludes no one and includes everyone. They start to see that the home they have found in their innermost being is as wide as the whole of humanity."
Henri Nouwen, Lifesigns
"In fact, truth, love, and beauty are most beautifully found at the lowest, weakest, and most concrete possible levels, like in a frog, a fugitive, or what others might call a freak. You have to accept God's divine freedom to see this way! You must grow up to your full stature to find the full stature of God (Ephesians 4:13). Small souls are incapable of knowing a great God, and great souls are never satisfied with a small or stingy God. You have to become conscious yourself, and then all things will be beautiful."
Richard Rohr, Eager to Love
What pain breaks your heart? What people do you fear? Serve them.
Do not stop at mere outrage over injustice. How can you love someone today?
What practice or habit can you commit to this year to serve others?
What is your purpose? Who are you serving?
The new year is full of resolutions for the self. Take the path less traveled and find joy in serving others.