Moving Beyond Happy Meals: Asking the Bigger Questions

It’s easy to live our lives and ignore bigger questions. Most people only ask bigger questions when something shakes up their world such as the death of a spouse, serious financial loss, or a life-threatening illness.

These “bigger” questions are the fundamental questions of human existence. They unite all human beings because all human beings have to confront them. They are always just the under the surface of our daily interactions.

They are questions such as these:

  • Why am I here?
  • Am I significant or valuable?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • What is the best way to live?
  • What do I think of death?
  • What is the best way to live?
  • What will make us truly happy?
  • What is right and just and good?
  • Who or what is God?
  • What is success?
  • How much is enough?
  • What is the significance of other people?
  • How did the world come to be?

These and many more questions like them are the fundamental and most important questions of human existence.

Even if we do not think much about them or answer them with a great deal of clarity, we do have answers to these questions that we live by. For example, we all want to feel that we are valuable. Most of us base our value on what we do or what people think of us. As a result, our feelings of value fluctuate based on how well our relationships are going or whether or not we are doing something we deem valuable. If a relationship ends or our ability to work diminishes, then we can face a serious crisis of identity.

When it comes to the best life, the world around us presents answers to that question that fill our minds. The corporate world basically tells us that the best life is going to Disney World on vacation and eating meals at McDonald’s. That’s what will make us happy. Happy meals!

The corporations of the world make money based on the very powerful desire of each of us for immediate pleasure and comfort. We all have a sort of default to seek our immediate comfort and pleasure. It takes thought, imagination, and discipline to seek any good beyond these things.

The question is, are these things really the things worth pursuing? Do we really need more stuff? Will vacations truly satisfy us? Is eating out truly the best way for humans to enjoy life? Is there a higher and ethical purpose that cannot be easily marketed? What about God? What about people?

Even if we have bigger answers to these bigger questions, it’s not easy to put them into practice. We may believe that we are valuable because God values us and loves us. However, when humans reject us, we feel like we have no value. It’s hard to live by the answers we have thought through.

Now, this may change if something in our world shatters apart. This is often the driver to change. But we don’t need to wait. We can be intentional about asking the bigger questions, seeking to change our mindset to be more in accord with our answers, and then begin to implement the results of our thinking. We have minds and hearts that can move beyond the daily routine into something bigger, so why not do it?