Experiences That Make Us Ask Big Questions
A life of significance often starts with a refining moment, a crucible experience. Before we think about serving a higher purpose, something that makes the world a better place, we often need to be shaken up. Life is often like that. If life were easy and smooth, many of us would pursue goals of being successful, having a good career, having enough money to support our families, having the freedom to take nice trips and have a nice lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with pursuing any of those goals. But is our purpose in life only that, a successful career with enough money to have a nice lifestyle?
That is where the value of a crucible experience comes in. The loss of a job, the loss of a business, a health or family challenge can rock our world. It can make us ask big questions. Where am I going? Why am I going there? What do I really want? How will my life matter? How will my life count? The crucible experience does not have to be prominent. It could be losing a parent at a young age, growing up in poverty, having a sibling with a health challenge or learning disability. The size or prominence of the crucible experience, is not as important as the depth of the impact that crucible experience had on you.
Wallow In Our Trials or Move Forward?
When you have a crucible experience, it may in part be your fault and may be related to choices you have made. But sometimes, that crucible experience may not at all be your fault, such as losing a parent at a young age. But either way, you have a choice. You can feel angry, in a sense wallow in your trials. Your anger may be totally understandable, even justifiable. But does it serve you well? Does it move you forward? The short answer is typically no.
Our trials can inspire us as we move forward. If we lost a job or a business, to the degree we contributed to the situation, what can we learn about ourselves? Maybe the job or role we were in, was not a good fit. Even if it was not all our fault, what can we learn? Perhaps we were part of a team or company that lacked integrity, and wanted to cut corners. This can lead us to the next stage of discovering how we were designed, our talents and attributes, as well as the values we hold dear. We will discuss this in more detail later.
Turning Tragedy into Purpose
But sometimes the seeds of a vision that can help others and in some small way change the world are in that crucible experience. Joni Eareckson Tada is a great example of a woman who could have lost all hope after her crucible experience. But yet, she used her tragedy to help others and have a world wide ministry. Joni was an athletic girl who was injured in a diving accident aged 17 in 1967. The accident left Joni as a quadriplegic from the neck down. She has lived this way for over 50 years. For many of us, this would have seemed a death sentence. The road back was not easy, learning to adjust to her new life and learning to have hope again. But over time, Joni found inspiration in her disability. This accident actually strengthened her faith, making her rely even more on God. Joni has said, “There are more important things than walking.” What could that be? Joni founded an international ministry, Joni and Friends, which through its radio program has reached over a million listeners a week. Through Wheels for the World, Joni and Friends has shipped over 34,000 wheelchairs to developing nations. She has written over thirty-five books and is a highly sought after speaker. Amazingly through a horrific tragedy, Joni has found purpose in life that makes a difference in lives all over the world.
What is your crucible experience?
What has your crucible experience taught you about yourself?
How could your crucible experience be used to help others?