Have you ever wished an alarm would go off saying, “warning the decisions you are about to make will determine the quality of your life for the next decade of your life.” Even though turning points can have such a dramatic, even long term impact on our lives, they tend to be tough to spot when they occur. Generally speaking, we may not even realize they’ve happened until 3-5 years have passed and we stop to reflect.
Does this mean we are doomed to never recognize them and forever, at best, navigate them haphazardly? No not at all. Simply acknowledging their reality as well as observing them in the lives of others can greatly help. But in all honesty, as important as those two ways are, there is a third way far more important. Bare with me as I share an experience from my own life.
I became a follower of Christ in 1973. My conversion was so personally powerful that the only thing that made sense was to immediately devote my entire life to serving the Lord. Now, I had no idea what that would mean or look like, I only knew it was my passionate desire. Over the next 10 years, that desire motivated me to do everything possible to equip myself as well to volunteer to serve in many capacities in the local church.
But still no possibility, no open doors for me to serve the Lord as a full time vocation.
My family had been Washingtonians (D. C., that is) for 3 generations. In 1979, due to my views on bible prophecy I wanted out of D.C., and for that matter any big city.. So I moved to a tiny little country railroad town called Brunswick, Maryland. A place I had never even heard of. I became very involved in a church there and a group of adults I was teaching a class for started praying with me for the Lord to grant me an open door.
Within a year, the Pastor of that church left and I was called upon to do some substitute speaking there as well as for a tiny mission church they had started. Within months the tiny mission church asked me to be their Pastor. That was 1984 and I have been serving the Lord full time ever since.
Now the point is this, I now know leaving D.C. was a major turning point in my life.
The repercussions are so many there is not time or space to list them all. But I had no idea when I made the decision to leave D.C. that the Lord was about to change my life dramatically forever. It was only 4-5 years after the 1980 move that I caught a glimpse of what a dramatic turning point it was.
You are probably now wondering, ‘but you said there is a third way to navigate these turning points more important than the first two.’ Yes, and it’s the surest way to navigate them appropriately.
The key is above all things to maintain your personal, passionate, undistracted devotion to Christ and then learn from the examples of others, particularly those in God’s word. Add to that the habit of periodic spiritual reflection and it makes for a powerful navigational tool for all of life’s turning points.
So, can you reflect and surface some significant turning points now that you might have been totally unaware of when they were happening? Did your responses set you on a spiritually positive trajectory or a negative one? Might you have some sense of a present turning point you are in the midst of?
Are you maintaining your personal, passionate, undistracted devotion to Christ? Are you accessing the many scriptural examples of others navigating life’s turning points? Are you taking periodic spiritual pauses to reflect?
Our enormously patient and loving Father wants our lives to be full of enthusiasm resulting from ongoing assurances that life is an adventure full of meaning and excitement because He is ever leading us in the venture.