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Have you ever thought of the circumstances in your life when you felt forced to do something you didn’t necessarily want to do?

You found yourself facing an incident that forced you into a critical decision that would change the course of your life’s direction?

One year ago this month we moved to Chiang Mai from Khon Kaen, a 13 hour drive away.  I didn’t want to move.  I had had finally started to become adjusted to my home in the Northeast of Thailand.  I despised the thought of moving.  But it was time to move.

I was thinking about this time in our life today when I came across a chapter in Donald Miller‘s Book  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  It’s a book that’s all about how our stories are formed in life.

In the book, he and some friends who are helping to write his story, begin to discuss how to make his character move.

They said that a general rule in creating stories is that characters don’t want to change.  They must be forced to change.

“The rule exists in story because it’s a true thing about people.”

"Inciting Incidents" Not Welcome Here

So, as the story goes the friends decide that the character needs an “inciting incident.”

An inciting incident is simply

“an event that forces your character to move.  It’s the thing that happens to throw your character into their story.  It’s the doorway through which they can’t return.  The story takes care of the rest.”

For us personally, it was the needs of our youngest son.  He was behind in speech and development.  We were not in a place where he could receive the proper help.  We needed to make a drastic change in order to help him.

Although we had already moved to four different houses in just a year and a half, we made one more decision to move to the second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai.  We had just begun to feel settled and a new major life change was upon us again.

We naturally seek comfort and stability as humans.  Yet many times we are called into a place of discomfort and fear of the unknown in order to engage our story, that would have not happened otherwise.

No one likes to be forced into an “inciting incident” yet they can be highly important, even critical, to our life story.

We have a choice.  

We can find fresh motivation and vision and rise to the occasion.  This is how the hero is born, the overcomer.

Or we can fall under the weight of the “incidents” that come into our lives.  It is only then that our story can become a “tragedy.”

One of the things I like about Miller’s story is that he realized the power of the “inciting incident” in his own life and began to create some good, healthy scenarios and throw himself into them by choice.

He learned how to identify the lines of challenge and cross them at the point of no return.

I am challenged to do that as well.

Maybe you are facing some difficult yet highly important decision in your life right now.  Some inciting incident has forced your hand.  You have a choice to make and your victory in the situation all has to do with attitude and perspective.

As for us, looking back over the last year, we can see the hand of God in our forced move.  

We have connected with great people that we would have never met otherwise.  We are involved in some ministry that has helped us break out of our boxes and see things in a fresh new light.  Our hearts and minds have been expanded and developed more than if we would have stayed.

Our son is increasingly growing in his abilities and development.  He has come so far in the last year, even surprising his therapist.

As we look forward into the next phase of life, we are thankful for all that we have experienced.  Our story continues to be written.  In fact in many ways it is just getting started.

So what about you?  Your story continues to be written.  Maybe its even just getting started too.

What kind of “inciting incidents” come to your mind that caused you to pass the point of no return in your own story? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.

Have you had an “incident” that caused you to finally come to God and surrender your life and destiny to Him? No better time for that decision than today.


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