Love them or hate them, we will all have defining moments in our lives. You know. Those moments where, even as you’re living them out, you know something inside you is changing at that very second.
As I embark on another new year of life, I can recall a great deal of defining moments over the course of my life.
The day I got my driver’s license. My first day of college. The conversation in which I decided to transfer colleges and change my major. The night I met my future husband. My first day of standing in front of a classroom of rowdy juniors as a student teacher and a snake crawled next to my foot. The first moment I chose to show love to a student who lashed out at me and I saw the spark of hope and respect take the place of hurt and bitterness in his eyes. Countless nights where my husband lovingly spoke a truth I needed to hear to change my immature mindset for the better. The day the doctor said, “I’m sorry your baby is not alive and if we don’t act quickly, you won’t be either.” The redemptive moment when God gave me the gift of a son to hold and learn with on this earth.
My list of defining moments is too lengthy to list in one simple blog post. This year alone has contained a mixed bag of defining moments that have left me wiping at tears of the most sincere joy as well as intense sorrow. Friends and acquaintances have come and gone. Sleep has been scarce and coffee has become a daily companion. And I cherish even more sincerely than ever before my precious family and the faithful friends who have proven themselves steadfast sources of encouragement and companionship in my life.
It’s been a year where I’ve started to grasp what grace really is. I’ve experienced it on a whole new level and have been humbled by how richly God has piled it on my life in the midst of all manner of circumstances. It’s been abundantly bestowed upon me, and I pray the excess has poured onto those around me as well.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over the course of year 31 of my life is how vital it is to find my identity in Christ. This idea has always sounded nice to me, but I’m finally beginning to understand what it means and how incredible it is to take it on.
Because other people will try to define you. Some of the definitions they use to describe you will be overly flattering while others will be downright mean.
Circumstances will also attempt to redefine who you are. That medical issue, the person you love so much who is hurting in an unimaginable way, the foreboding news headlines, the dwindling funds in the bank – my head spins when I think about the insanely difficult year it has been for so many people that I know. Heartache has not taken a break, but even so, those trials I’ve faced and that you’ve faced, they do not have to define us!
Who I want to be when this life is over is someone who has done what the LORD has required of me, to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” (Micah 6:8) Rather than fret over situations beyond my control or people who don’t know the truth, I’m making my focus more about who God would have me become as a result of the defining moments He’s gifted me with. Some of the moments are more pleasant than others, but they “all work together for the good of those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) I love Jesus far more passionately than I did 365 days ago, and it’s because He’s used each of this year’s defining moments to draw me to His Word and away from any word that is inferior to His.
Will you let go of the things that are incorrectly defining who God intends you to be? You aren’t guaranteed an easy road, but you will without a doubt experience miracles, peace, and strength greater than you will ever know otherwise.