Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When did “One Act” change the direction of your life?

Just one act took Chris Giovagnoni down a path he never could have foreseen or imagined.

Just one act. One God-inspired act.

It started when he went to a church concert.

“At that time,” says Chris, “I was four months into my new life as a Christian sponge in the tub of Living Water. That night, the Holy Spirit dropped a baby into the tub with me.

“In the middle of the concert, the musician stopped to share a story from a Compassion [International] trip to Haiti. He talked about a woman who came up to him on the street and tried to give him her baby, to give her baby a better life. She was willing to give her baby to a stranger so the baby could escape the hopelessness of extreme poverty.

“It was a moving and powerful story … and I wanted to quit my job and go work in Haiti. I wanted to immerse myself in doing Christ’s work, in serving others. I was anxious to learn if there was an opportunity for me to act on. And then the artist asked me to sponsor a child. Boring.

“I was disappointed … Sending more money wasn’t good enough for me.”

After the concert, Chris learned about Compassion tours that enable people to meet their sponsored children.

“The idea of visiting my sponsored child,” says Chris, “was enough to get me to act. I sponsored Lerionga.

“And because of that one act, I went to Kenya 18 months later and met Lerionga.

“Because of that one act, I heard about a job opening at Compassion while I was in Kenya. I got that job.

“Because of that one act, I met my wife. She’s also a Compassion employee.

“Because of that one act, I’m going to be a father. We’re expecting in September.

“Because of that one act, I have hope that the darkness of my strain of emotional poverty ends with me.”

Great story!

Your life is a series of “one act” choices, too—one act at a time, one choice at a time. Some choices were God-inspired, while others were deliberate, rebellious choices.

Whether they were wise or foolish, a series of “one act” choices brought you to today.

Look back over your life and pinpoint a defining moment when you stood at the crossroads—one of those moments that changed the direction of your life.

What are your “one act” stories?

Remember the three-column timeline I gave you in October? (Click on this link to refresh your memory.) It’s a working document for you, a tool to help you remember your stories and recognize God’s role in them.

That third column will also help you identify your one acts.

When did you find yourself at a life-changing fork in the road? Place yourself right inside Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could.…

… knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I
I took the ______________ (fill in the choice you made)
And that has made all the difference.

And that made all the difference, oh, yes!

Look over your three-column timeline and note the ways God has led you, one act at a time, and brought you to today.

Then start writing: “Just one act took ______________ (fill in your name) down a path [he/she] never could have foreseen or imagined.”

References and links:

Chris Giovagnoni,

Compassion International,

Three-column timeline,

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  1. Very inspiring and thought-provoking post. And I loved the way you used my favorite poem from Robert Frost!

    1. Hi, Cathy, it's one of my favorites, too. I first fell in love with this one of Frost's when I was a teenager and heard a man and two of his sons sing it, accompanied by guitar if I recall correctly. It was so plain and melodic--it's going through my head all these years later. A few years later I said "I do" to one of those boys. :)

      I hope your day is going well, Cathy. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. It is a touching story.

    I'm not sure what the one act is that has changed my life so dramatically. I think there are two. The first would be when I accepted Jesus so many years ago as a child. It set me on a path so very different from most of the young people I knew in my community. The other act was more recently when I decided to accept my friend's invitation to visit Kenya. Life has not been the same since then.

    It's interesting you chose the poem you did because I always felt that poem was the story of my life :-

    1. Wow, Penny, the story of your life!

      Just now it occurred to me that perhaps you could take that poem line by line and write vignettes about each one.


    2. Good idea. I'll see what I can do :-)

  3. Linda, This is such a powerful message that our lives are a series of acts, some God-inspired, others deliberate and I, too, love Frost's classical poem. Thanks for your inspirational post!

    1. Hi, Kathy, this "One Act" idea might not work for the format of your memoir, but perhaps it helps see how God leads, step by step.

      Happy Writing!


  4. What an inspiring story. It's a reminder it's the "One Acts" that make all the difference.

    1. Hi, Janet, you're right. One Act can make all the difference. That's why I think writing stories for our kids and grandkids can be so helpful for them, in a non-preaching way.

      I hope you're feeling better, Janet.