Conversations With Life

a blog by Matthew J. Burch

The Events of Life & How They Can Shape Who We Become

As I observe life, its complexity of shaping forces at work, I am impacted by the way events have the power to literally mold who we become.

My eldest daughter is in cross-country. With all of her effort she has applied herself to optimize her abilities to run cross-country in such a way that she is able to cross the finish line with joy and personal satisfaction.

Much to her recent disappointment, she has experienced some difficulties with her breathing (lungs) and is in need of an evaluation to find the source of the problem. She has worked so hard to improve her pace, stride, and consequently her finishing time.

Imagine living life, “daily training and working on your stride, pace and qualifying time” endeavoring to “finish well” and none of your training or effort had direct influence on your “shaping ability” or the “form” that you were trying to improve. How would you feel about your life? What types of statements would you be making about yourself? How despairing and meaningless life would become.

John Sanford, says that the process of entering God’s Kingdom is a process of becoming an individual. It requires stepping apart from the crowd, from the mass movements that are always the easier way, “to suffer the pain and difficulty of becoming a conscious person.” 

Life, as I have mentioned, is the most valued, meaningful, and intense conversation you will have. Everyday there is a new conversation. Remnants of yesterday’s conversation may still be lingering and may need some attention. Anticipation for today’s conversation engages with day-to-day events and becoming more aware (conscious) of how they are shaping us and molding us into our true identity. If we are able to give consent to God (surrender), we can engage most deeply in a process allowing ourselves to be changed into an identity that fulfills the purposes of God while we are here on earth. As we do this, our conversations with or about tomorrow will not be filled with fear or anxiety, rather, a priceless creation that extends beyond our own ability or measure: the fulfillment of LIFE itself.


  • sherri on Oct 19, 2010 Reply

    I enjoyed that post!
    Cross country gives so much for young ladies. I am impressed with her hard work even though she has breathing difficulties!

  • Matthew Burch on Sep 08, 2010 Reply

    Tom, it is quite difficult to know what events will build character from the ones that seem to erode life. I suppose that is where faith intercedes. “All things work together for the good to for those who are in Christ.” I hear and see so many “bad things” that happen to people that really did not build up their character, rather, their character has been building or endeavoring to be build since the negative event. I beleive that is where the negative aspests of life have been overcome. God is for us in a fallen broken world and despite sin and suffering, God will build us and continue to offer LIFE! Thanks always for your encouragement!

  • Tom Vander Well on Sep 07, 2010 Reply

    Great post, Matthew. Isn’t it funny how events shape us, and the seemingly “negative” events end up being the ones that have the greatest positive effect on our character. It is so often through pain that we progress.

    Thanks for the thought today.

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