Last week, I wrote about the anxieties and stresses that college students face at the end of the academic year. Some make it through this time unscathed, while others find themselves in crisis. For those in the latter category, a question often emerges: What is wrong with me?
Outside the university campus, more people are asking themselves this question every day. Crisis is all around us. The economy is in crisis. The government is in crisis. Society is in crisis, and the ramifications of our collective crises are falling onto the shoulders of more and more previously unaffected individuals.
Powerful voices around us tell us that crisis is our failure. It is our failure to work hard. It is our failure to set the right priorities. It is our failure to keep up with the times. But to believe those voices is to accept their standards as our own. To believe those voices is to allow another party to set our priorities and determine our values for us. Consciously or not, when we find ourselves in crisis, we may be resisting a life that is not our own.
As the current economic crisis has revealed, those in positions of authority over us do not always have our interests at heart. We would like to think that others are looking out for our well-being, but ultimately, we are only the ones who can determine what well-being is for us. When we find ourselves spiritually unwell, crisis is not failure but an opportunity to locate a deeper sense of well-being to place at the center of our lives.
We all must share a world with people who do not share our value system. We must make our way in a world where others control the resources and hold the achievements of some over others. But having located the source of our well-being outside this world, we enter in as a free and powerful people. We hold power over this aspect of life, rather than it holding power over us.
The next time you struggle in a world that seeks to make its values your own, think not of failure but of opportunity. Think of yourself not as rejected, but as chosen! You have the opportunity to be a pioneer in a new world order that places human dignity and worth at the center of human society.
You are special, unique, and possess immeasurable value to this world. Let us together bring about the new world order for our own benefit, for the benefit of those around us, and for the world.