I’ve adapted a portion of This Is Our Time and added some additional material for my friends at Gospel Centered Discipleship this week. What does it mean to follow Jesus in a world where everyone believes the purpose of life is to follow your dreams and be true to yourself?
In a recent issue of New York magazine, Heather Havrilesky, the columnist for “Ask Polly,” says readers should not see the millennial generation as “spoiled,” “entitled,” and “overconfident.” The millennials she hears from “feel guilty and inadequate at every turn.” They “compare themselves relentlessly to others. They are turned inside out, day after day, by social media.”
Guilty. Unworthy. Anxious. Failing to meet society’s standards. A secular generation may not talk much about sin and judgment, but guilt and anxiousness lurk in every human heart. And it’s not just because of social media, although our online interactions do magnify the problem. Feelings of unworthiness won’t go away.
What should we do? The world says pursue happiness, whatever the cost, by becoming the best version of “you” possible. Look inside for salvation, and then look outside for affirmation. The problem is, “the curated version of you that lives online also feels hopelessly polished and inaccurate,” Havrilesky writes, “and you feel, somehow, that you alone are the inauthentic one.” Show your true self and you’ll be shamed.
Another problem is that this pursuit of happiness—finding yourself and being true to whatever authentic person you decide to be—turns out to be rather exhausting. “Merely muddling through, doing your best, seeing friends when you can, trying to enjoy yourself as much as possible, is, according to the reigning dictates of today’s culture, tantamount to failure. You must live your best life and be the best version of yourself, otherwise you’re nothing and no one.” In other words, if you’re not happy, you’re to blame.
Read the whole article.