Defining moments! Events that take place in our lives that dramatically change our direction. In a lifetime, we may have one or two and when they come they are powerful.
Sometimes the defining moment is a crisis; a loss of a child; a revelation of an affair; finding yourself homeless; a major injury or a fatal diagnosis. Sometimes the defining moments are times of joy; a birth of a child; an experience with God; an apology that comes to you.
Some defining moments can help destroy a soul, when a sexual abuse occurred, this defining moment shut down the heart of a young lady. When a couple lost their very young child to death, one of the spouses began to drink excessively to numb this pain.
What causes some people, after they experience a defining moment, to move in a positive direction while others spin negatively out of control? How can the loss of a child result in a couple recommitting to each other deeper than before and another couple push away each other? What is it that causes one man who finds himself homeless to reinvent himself and start a new career and another one to throw up his hands and resign to living on the streets?
Some people are like eggs; when they are dropped on a hard surface, a difficult or painful situation, they just shatter. Other people are like rubber balls; when they drop on the same hard surface, they bounce back. They are more resilient.
Those people who are resilient seem to understand that the event or moment is an opportunity and something from which to learn. Someone told me that the Chinese character for “crisis” actually means opportunity in their language. If an event is painful, the resilient person realizes they don’t have to be controlled by it and it is not the sum of their life. In contrast, those who are more like eggs approach a defining moment as an end. The even determines the future, they are the victim and all choices have been taken away.
This explains how one soldier can return from the theater of conflict and merge into a civilian life with little trouble while another soldier from the very same theater gets stuck in the horror. The resilient soldier views the acts of violence he saw or even participated in as something that took place but is not a reflection of his entire life or even his identity. He did a job and he was exposed to horrific situations but that is not the sum of who he is or what he hopes to become.
What are some defining moments in your life and how have they affected you? Are you an egg or a rubber ball?
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)