Coherence: The Missing Piece to a Meaningful Life

Coherence: The Missing Piece to a Meaningful Life
Photo by Brandi Redd / Unsplash

While coherence is not a word used often, it is an amazingly important quality of our lives. 

Coherence is what makes things make sense.

In a literary sense, it is all parts of a writing or argument working together. In sports, it’s easy to witness when players are working as a coherent team or when they are disjointed. 

So, what does it mean to have a coherent life?

When our lives are coherent, things make sense; our actions are tightly connected to our values. How we speak is consistent with how we want to be perceived by others, and how we spend money is consistent with what we value most.

Coherence is the unified story of our lives, pieced together by our experiences, choices, and happenings, which ultimately leads us to a meaningful life.

When life lacks coherence, we struggle to understand what is happening to us and why. All lived experiences feel like random moments stitched together in the same quilt but hold no major significance.

What is the connection between coherence and meaning?

When we feel our lives are not part of a grander story, we recluse or get busy. 

Some people feel swallowed by the nothingness of their lives and recluse to the dark corners of the internet, addiction, or isolation. This is a search for something to fill the void of story and meaning. These activities are rarely attached to our values because we need to take the time to identify what we value in the first place.

When you don’t know the direction or path, you will always take the road of least resistance. 

The other response is getting busy doing all the things that make you feel busy but get nothing done. These tasks might be important and attached to our values, but the value is attached to checking them off a list, which makes them lose meaning altogether. For example, I read to my kids every night before bed but often find myself lost in thought while I read or speed reading through the pages to get to the sleeping part faster. 

What difference will coherence make? 

We feel coherence. 

  • It’s the satisfying feeling you get when you walk out of the movie theater after watching a well-told visual story. 
  • It’s walking through the park without headphones and listening to all the subtle sounds you missed a hundred walks before. 
  • It’s riding the perfect wave on your surfboard or reeling in a hard-fighting fish on a taut line. 
  • It’s studying hard for a test or rehearsing hours for a production and nailing it.

When there is more coherence, we feel it. We feel connected to ourselves and others around us. Our values align with God’s design for us, and we tap into a peace that surpasses all understanding. 

When life gets busy, and our brains get scattered, we lose track of feeling anything. We become machines rather than flesh and blood. Machines can’t feel coherence or meaning. Don’t try to be a machine. Just be a human and know that your life has a story. 

man walking in between of tall trees
Photo by Danny Howe / Unsplash

A coherent life won’t happen by accident. 

The pace of life most of us live will keep us from ever experiencing a sense of meaning and purpose. This is an invitation to pause and reflect on how your life feels right now. 

Does it just feel busy? 

Do you want something more?