For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV
Keeping your sanity in a mad, mad world is a challenge, but it’s possible. The first guideline that enables you to do this is keeping your perspective. A condition which happens when a snowstorm covers the ground and the air is a blur of falling snow is called a “white out.” It’s dangerous, because you can’t tell which way is up or down. Lacking is definition. It’s dangerous.
When you include God in your life you gain perspective that takes you beyond the white-out of morality today. You have the confidence that God is there, that He is still in control when our world appears to be mad.
Guideline #2: Have a purpose in life. In the past couple of decades GPS units have been standard equipment for explorers and mountaineers. GPS—global position by satellite—is a small, hand-held device that picks up signals from a number of satellites and then fixes your position anywhere on earth with accuracy that can be measured in inches or millimeters. Boom! It’s got your location. You’re not lost. And following the fix of knowing God, the next important step in keeping your sanity in a mad, mad world is discovering your purpose in life.
Knowing for what purpose God created you is like having a destination towards which you walk instead of simply walking with the wind at your back, changing direction with whatever wind of popular whim is in vogue. “It’s not about you,” says Rick Warren in his best-seller A Purpose-Driven Life, “it’s about God, and you cannot separate Him from the purpose for which you were created.”
Denying that life has a purpose leaves you with an existential “do whatever feels good,” getting your direction from crystals or pop religion, which doesn’t keep the fog of depression from shrouding your soul with uncertainty. Frederich Nietzsche grew up in one of the most beautiful areas of Germany in a village surrounded by lakes, forests and streams; yet closing the door on God he fathered the God-is-dead movement. His life ended, though, in a mental institution where the insane were housed.
A purpose in life also gives meaning to how you live, how you spend your money, what you do with your time and talents. Do you use them for your pleasure, or to bless others? Paul reminded Timothy, “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7). But that reality has been lost on those who live without purpose. They forget that where we are ultimately going, you cannot use traveler’s checks or make reservations at the Marriott or Hilton. They forget that you cannot call ahead or send supplies for the journey. They forget that there are no pockets in shrouds, or U-haul trailers behind the hearse that takes the deceased to the cemetery.
Having a purpose means that you know what you are living for and whom you are living for. Writing to the folks who lived in a Roman city known as Philippi, a beautiful one at that, Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Take the challenge of praying, “God, if you are there, show me yourself, and I’ll believe in you. Forgive me for wandering around in darkness, and reveal your Son Jesus Christ to me in such a way that I can believe in you. I’m tired of living without a purpose in this mad world. I need you, Lord.” Then turn to John 3 in the New Testament and leave the mad, mad world behind. Jesus said, “Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness,” and it’s true today.
Resource reading: John 8.