one reader thought I was referring to the traumatic or “bad” experiences in life,
but that’s not what I mean.
“Heavy experiences” in this context,
are experiences that have
significant force in our lives,
changing our view of the world, ourselves, or others, even God.
Most individual choices and events have little impact on our core beliefs.
But some mark a sharp turning point in our lives
or a subtle shift in our beliefs
which, in turn, influences future choices that determine our course in life.
Some events are quite easy to recognize as significant:
getting a new sibling,
moving to a different house or school,
having a child,
making a major job change,
experiencing a redefining illness or injury,
starting or ending a significant relationship, etc.
I suspect, however, that some private mental shifts,
invisible and unnoticed by others, or even by ourselves,
have just as great an impact.
Internal changes in core beliefs greatly influence the course of our lives
because they cause us to “rewrite the story” we created for ourselves
whether we are consciously aware of their influence or not.
One day in fourth grade,
I stood looking at a bulletin board display of 100% spelling tests.
You could have yours up there if you studied harder, I said to myself.
I thought about whether the additional effort would be worth it,
went home and told my mom,
“I’m going to make 100% on my spelling test this week.”
She smiled into my eyes.
“Making 100% is not as important as doing your very best.”
I didn't want to tell her that I suspected that I hadn't been doing my best.
Instead, I smiled back and sat down to study until I was sure I had learned the words.
When I made 100% that week,
my self-expectations changed,
impacting my academic achievement for years to come.
When my brother and I get together we often compare memories,
hunting for differences in what we recall.
He seems more intrigued by how the mind processes input,
but I want to understand how our perceptions affect the framework of the story we build for our lives.
This week, take time to list the “heavy” events of your life.
Don’t stop with easy major happenings,
but look for the more subtle ones (like my bulletin board experience),
places where you, for some reason,
changed your expectations of yourself, others, God, or life in general.
Until next time, remember this verse.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Proverbs 23:7 NASB