In physics, whenever an object speeds up, slows down, or changes direction, it has experienced a change in momentum. There is a term for this -- we say it has experienced an impulse. Galileo said that objects in motion stay in motion, or objects at rest stay at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force. Specifically, if we know the size of the force we can calculate how much change will occur, and if we know how much change has occurred, we can calculate the force that was involved. The formula for this is that impulse (Δp) is equal to the size of the force (F) multiplied by the amount of time the force was acting (Δt) or more compactly: Δp = FΔt
In our physics class, I mentioned one day that there are two different types of impulses. One type involves a gradual change, where a small force is applied for a long time -- or fΔT. The other type of impulse would be a quick, "painful" change, involving a large force exerted for a relatively short amount of time -- or FΔt. This would be the difference between catching a hockey puck gently by sliding back your stick as you catch it, versus leaving your stick still. I remember the scene in Mighty Ducks where they practiced this with eggs on the court, and many eggs were broken.
All this got me thinking that God tends to exert changes on us and often these changes take one of two different methods. At times, God has changed me with big events -- namely my mothers death, the birth of my baby girl, and a huge bout of depression that came about requiring medical attention when I was a senior in high school. Each of these have had a noticeable change in character. But God has also shaped me through many small ideas for a long time. The constant shaping of Christian schooling, and the loving example of my father, over 12 and 29 years respectively, have brought me to a trusting knowledge of God, and developed a loving character in me that, for the most part, desires to meet others needs above my own.
How has God impulsed (impacted?) your life? Has it been through big events, or a more gradual change?