Hinge Moments – D. Michael Lindsay

Hinge Moments D Michael Lindsay
Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life's Transitions by D. Michael Lindsay
Published by IVP on April 27, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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In life we have moments in time in which we have an opportunity before us to make a change or to respond to a situation. According to Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, what follows these instances will depend intrinsically on the decisions we make and the actions we take. These are what he calls hinge moments--opportunities to open (or close) doors to various pathways of our lives. Lindsay maintains that getting these moments right can change our lives for the better, and getting them wrong can pose problems for years to come: Some transitions have a disproportionate impact on our happiness, our contribution to society, and our family's well-being. In these pages Lindsay shares faith-based stories of success and failure from his ten-year study of 550 PLATINUM leaders. He has charted seven phases of transition, providing both practical and spiritual insights for making the most of each stage. In uncertain and tumultuous times, there is no better advantage than wisdom gained early.

Hinge Moments. They’re the key points of opportunity that change our lives—whether we realize it or not. Some hinge moments we see coming years in advance. As a youth pastor, I helped students navigate one of the biggest but most predictable hinge moments in their lives: high school graduation. Other moments only become obvious in hindsight, like a job change. Some blindside us, maybe an illness or the death of a family member. Hinge Moments can have a long-lasting effect on our lives. Speaking from his own life and from a ten-year study of 550 PLATINUM leaders, D. Michael Lindsay pinpoints seven different phases of transition, helping readers prepare for and work through moments of change.

Lindsay’s writing is compact, to the point, and effective. He writes with the mind of a sociologist but the heart of a storyteller. Sometimes when I read books like this, the research gets out in front of the narrative. The stories read like bland vignettes adapted from an academic journal. Not so here. Hinge Moments weaves in a solid, sociologically sure background amid its anecdotal evidence. Lindsay understands that its stories of success that provide encouragement to continue on.

The seven stages Lindsay identifies are:

  1. Discernment
  2. Anticipation
  3. Intersection
  4. Landing
  5. Integration
  6. Inspiration
  7. Realization

He then writes a chapter on each, clearly defining its part in the overall journey and offering practical and spiritual tips for navigating the challenges of that stage. It seems obvious, but I’m very glad that Lindsay writes about the dip in confidence that comes with actually making a big change. Confidence is middling when making a big decision. Confidence wanes when actually going through the transition and establishing the “new normal.” It only begins to rise once there’s a new sense of security and safety. Even the very best transitions in our lives cause us to freak out a little bit and wonder if we’ve done it right. Just giving voice to that making Hinge Moments a comforting presence to those going through change.

One of the scariest things about transitions is the lack of stability. Hinge Moments is a reminder that stability is still there, that these seven stages are pretty uniform, and offers concrete and practical advice throughout. While these changes are adaptable to a vast array of hinge moments in life, the one that Lindsay most often focuses on is a transition in the workplace. The chapter “The Welcome Mat” is probably most indicative of this, as Lindsay offers several suggestions on settling into a new job, giving advice that’s particularly helpful if this is one’s first job out of university.

I don’t know that anything Michael says is revolutionary, but it’s tried, true, and comforting. Maybe it’s just that having been through a lot of hinge moments, I had enough practical experience to see quite easily that he’d charted my own path not even having known it. Whether you’re looking for the next job change in life, contemplating retirement, or even wanting to encourage a young person who’s about to graduate.