What Do You Revolve Around?

Written By: Allison Scott

January 15, 2017

What a person places at the center of their life determines the extent to which he or she truly and freely lives. This is the essence of Dr. Parker’s quote, “Do you suppose the reason life is so empty for some people is because they are the center of their lives?”
I have seen what empty lives look like. I am familiar with the scene of people imprisoned by their desire for happiness, security, success, or prestige. They are not free. They live in constant work-mode, fear, and worry. These desires to be successful are not necessarily bad, but one’s obsession over them becomes a dangerous trap that leads to emptiness, fear, and purposelessness.
To the surprise of everyone I know, including myself, I got into Harvard. Harvard provided an exemplar breeding ground of the disastrous consequences of living an empty life with only oneself at the center. During my four years, three students took their own lives. This came as a result of the competitive pressure to be the best. Being the best was viewed as one’s identity, the one consistent and reliable comforter for students. This mentality saturates Harvard. When this reputation goes away, or is threatened, severe depression and life insecurity take hold. Through this lens, life is about your achievements, your contributions, and you changing the world. The subject here is exclusively “you”. This mindset leads to compounding pressure, competition, and profound emptiness. With “you” at the center of your life, suddenly the amount of money you make after graduation becomes an indicator of your self worth. There are expectations of Harvard graduates that you must live up to or else you will embarrass your alma mater’s reputation. These are common and understated insecurities of most graduating seniors. Many students question the meaning of life if this is how it is measured. As a result, many of these students are trapped in their own heads. They proceed with their lives more like prisoners than as free, joyful, or unburdened.
Life is not meant to be empty. It should not be. Life is intended to be full, free, joyful, and God honoring. The only lasting cure to combat life’s emptiness is to place the source of life, joy, and selfless love at the center: Jesus Christ. Life does not make sense without Him. I was fortunate enough to attend Harvard with a Christian background. In fact, I joined a Christian club at Harvard and helped increase membership from 40 regular attendees my freshman year to about 130 by my senior year. The good news of Jesus Christ is spreading at Harvard. Students search to fill the empty void in their souls. Jesus is the answer, and they are finding Him.
I do believe that life is empty for some people because they put themselves at the center. The word “themselves” can be replaced with their money, their success, their reputation, their job, their status, their family, their health, and/or their image. They worship items or ideas that are fleeting. Placing the Creator at the center of one’s life is that only lasting remedy to fill an empty soul. Despite the pain, anxiety, and frenzy I have seen, increasing amounts of Harvard students are figuring the secret to true peace and success through Jesus Christ our Savior. Praise God!