Turning Points: Gaining Life Perspective
Gaining perspective on your life is important when planning for the future and understanding where God may be leading you. Spending time being introspective about your life experiences can be very revealing.
One way you can go about this process is by identifying the turning points in your life. Tom Patterson, in his book, Living the Life You Were Meant to Live, defines a turning point as a significant time in your life when the direction of your life changes either for the better or worse.
You can see turning points as you look back on your life experiences and history. What is particularly important about a turning point is that it is a landmark in your life. In other words, something substantial occurred changing the direction of your life. Turning points can be marked by a single event or a period of time. Patterson suggests the following questions to ask your self in identifying a turning point:
- What was happening during this period of my life?
- What marked the beginning or ending of a stage that I went through?
- What change resulted from the tragedy or crisis that I experienced?
- What were the major moments in which I experienced great joy or fulfillment?
- What are the major events of my life (such as marriage, death, leaving home, graduation, career shifts, retirement)?
If you want to learn more about how turning points have impacted your life here’s an exercise to get you started.
Write down the significant turning points in your life. People will vary in how many turning points have impacted their lives. Don’t be too concerned about the numbers. It may be helpful to know that it is not uncommon for someone who is in their 20s and 30s to have between five and ten; someone in their 40s and 50s to have between ten and fifteen; someone in their 60s to have between twenty and twenty-five.
Remember these are guidelines; you may have more or less. Write down the turning points. It may be useful to provide a brief name or description for each turning point, usually a few words is sufficient. Provide an approximate date or period of time for each. You may want to include a quote or Bible verse that captures the essence of that turning point.
Do you notice any trends, patterns, or themes emerging from your list of turning points? What did certain turning points, or the season they represent, mean to you? God can use all the experiences in our lives to help shape us for His purposes. Gaining a perspective on our lives is one way we can see where God has been working in our lives and where He may be leading us.