As we transition out of being a young person into being a young adult, a lot of things about us get tested along the way — our character, the things we enjoy, our relationships. We are changing and growing. The way we see the world is changing, and sometimes it’s happening without us even realizing until one day we discover we aren’t the same person from last year.
One aspect of transition that has surprised me is how my faith is changing. Surprised is maybe to nice a word — stirred up might be a better phrase for the feeling. Over the course of college, I’ve looked at my faith and seen that it isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid, or even in high school. Sure, it’s not supposed to be. We’re supposed to keep growing. Part of me has wondered at times, though, will my faith stand the test of time? And even scarier, will my faith push me to act more and more in ways that define a great life?
If you’ve ever wrestled with these questions, let me tell you about a book I read this summer that helped give me perspective.
The Good Life by Charles Colson is a collection of stories showing the contrast of what makes up a great life versus a life that lacks true depth and meaning. Colson discusses these stories head on, pointing out characteristics from each story (such as community and self-sacrificial love) that define a truly good life. He includes stories as well that show, by contrast, the sadness of what our lives can look like when we leave truth by the wayside.
Colson was a politician during Nixon’s presidency. He had climbed his way to the top into Nixon’s inner circle by the time of Watergate, and for his involvement in that scandal, he was imprisoned. Being stripped of his power and honor, Colson hit rock bottom, and in prison became a Christian (his book Born Again is the account of his journey).
The Good Life is written by a man who experienced both sides of life. Colson knew all to well how the competition for political power drained his life of meaning when he was part of the White House. Yet he also discovered paradoxically how being brought low gave him the chance to find meaning and restore him at his deepest.
This book encouraged me by showing me that is many ways I am seeking the truly good things out of life. However, this book is not a feel-good book in the least. It challenged me even as it encouraged to keep striving and to never give up fighting for the best in life, even when it’s hard. Going by the stories in The Good Life, it often is hard. But it’s worth it.
Give it a read! It will shape your thinking and inspire you in the best possible ways.