changes in life

5 Experiences That’ll Change You Forever

Just as the COVID pandemic started to shut things down in the spring of 2020, I listened to a sports talk show. March Madness had just been canceled, the NHL and NBA seasons had been suspended, and the radio show’s hosts speculated on when everything would return to normal. They predicted that the the Masters golf tournament would happen in April. “They’re not going to cancel the Masters. By the time that comes around, everything should be back to normal.” While they didn’t cancel the Masters, everything was hardly back to normal. Like the show’s hosts, I thought COVID would blow over and we’d be back to our same old world in no time. Obviously I was wrong. Just like after many changes in life, things will never be the same again after COVID.

The world is profoundly different today. We’ve all had to adjust to a new normal. I don’t enjoy changes in life, but they’re certainly not always bad. Even the most difficult changes can grow us and enrich our lives in ways we never expected. Instead of fighting change, I wish I’d learned earlier to embrace it a little more. Here are 5 experiences that’ll change you forever.

Even the most difficult changes can grow us and enrich our lives in ways we never expected.

1. A Painful Failure

Yes, any failure is painful, but there are certain types that leave their mark. When a man works as hard as possible, applies his mind fully, attempts all of the best practices for success, uses every talent he’s been given, and still falls short, he learns that his power is limited. He learns humility. Hopefully he also learns that he has certain gifts, and those gifts lend themselves to certain pursuits. It’s not that he doesn’t have what it takes—it’s that he’s been forcing something that was never meant to be. That leads to the next point.

2. Finding Your Calling

It doesn’t have to be a career, but each person is passionate about something. First Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” God gave us certain talents for a reason and we can use them for our own selfish gain or invest them in others. When we find a place to invest our talents in others, we find our calling. That’s when our lives are never the same. They become filled with purpose and significance.

3. The Loss of a Loved One

Whoever wrote the movie Frozen must’ve experienced the loss of someone close because that writer gets it. Whenever someone close to Elsa dies, the storm inside her that produces the blizzard stops and everything becomes silent and still. When you lose someone close, all the trivial problems that brought anxiety the day before cease to be important. And we are never the same. There’s always a sadness below the surface. It may get lighter over time, but it’s always there. The good part is that it helps us feel for others experiencing the same things. Our empathy and compassion grow.

4. Discovering Your Identity

“Who am I?” That’s a core question all of us need to answer at some point or we end up living superficial lives. When we discover who we are, and perhaps more importantly, when we embrace who are, we finally start living with authenticity. We no longer are bound to the approval of others. In 1 Peter 2:9, we see an identity description: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” How would you describe your identity? After Peter discovered that this was his identity, he was never the same.

5. Putting Your Life in God’s Hands

King David had everything. He was a person of brilliance, courage, power, and means, and yet he still put his life in God’s hands. He says in Psalm 25:1, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Oh my God, I trust in you.” He knew that God is worthy and would not disappoint him. When we put our lives in God’s hands, we admit that God knows better for us than we do. We accept the path He sets before us and stop trying to forge our own. There is a burden that’s lifted in becoming dependent on God to lead and provide.

Sound off: What are some other monumental changes in life?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What experience in your life has had the biggest impact on you?”