Character is revealed in unplanned moments of crises.
My mom visited us this past weekend for Mother’s Day. Friday morning we quickly left the house in order to get my son to school. On the way to the car, my mom’s foot caught the edge of our driveway. She lost her footing causing her to severely twist her ankle. She lost her balance and fell on the driveway. After some assessment, we determined it best to go to the emergency room. After some tests, it was determined she broke her ankle. Plans quickly changed. To rest the ankle, she was confined for the most part to a wheelchair. Rather than sleeping in the downstairs bedroom, she slept in my daughter’s room on the main floor, bumping Ashleigh to the upstairs. Adjustments were made to the weekend schedule and accommodations were made to ensure she could begin the recovery process.
My mom took the injury in stride. She was a trooper as we went to the track meet. On Saturday, she insisted on taking the kids to the theater as previously planned. She approached the weekend with flexibility and a positive attitude. I was proud of her. I was also proud of my kids. I had known that my kids have good hearts. However, this past weekend revealed to us more of their character. They stepped up to the plate with this injury. At the track meet, my son joyously embraced the task of pushing the wheelchair. He did so without complaint. In fact, there were times she used the walker. In those moments, he questioned whether or not she should be doing so. “Should you not be using the walker” he would ask. On Sunday, my daughter pushed her grandmother around the church so she could say hi to people and grab some snacks after worship service. She slept on the upstairs floor without a hint of inconvenience. Throughout the weekend, they were extraordinarily helpful. To our delight, we did not have to ask them to do so. As parents, we were very proud of them. We know our kids extremely well. Yet, we learned something about their character this weekend that we would not have seen apart from this unplanned moment of crisis.
We want to believe that we will respond a particular way if a crisis happens. How would we respond if we received devastating news? What would we do if we see someone in need while we were rushing out of the store? What would we say if a friend called us desperate for some comfort? To be honest, we don’t know how we would respond until we are confronted in the moment with that crisis. It is then that our character is revealed. In those moments, we find out what is truly important to us. We find out our level of grace and patience. We discover our true self. Crises are moments of self-awareness – to discover who we truly are.
More so, character cannot be turned on like a light switch. We cannot live concerned only about ourselves then expect to serve others when a crisis occurs. Character is nurtured through every day actions – in the moments where there is no crisis. Crisis simply reveals what has already been cultivated in our hearts. To best prepare for the unplanned moments requires daily, visible expressions of who we want to be.
This is what God wants in our lives. He desires to form our attitudes and actions internally and daily so that godly character shines in moments of difficulty.