Was there a subject in school you just struggled with? Or maybe there was a particular topic or concept within a subject that caused you some problems? For years, I’ve loved to write and the analysis of literary works is something I enjoy, which is handy when you desire to be a novelist. And, for the most part, I’ve always done well in writing. But whenever my college writing professor returned a paper, I knew the majority of her comments would be aimed toward my lackluster and sometimes nonexistent transitions.
My mind is pretty random, so I can easily skip from subject to subject without needing much in between. But, as this professor loved to remind me, not everyone thinks this way. When writing, the author needs to take the reader on a journey and, if there’s a moment of uncertainty, the reader can be easily lost.
In writing and in life transitions are easy places to get mixed up.
How do you handle transitions in your life?
I wish I could say that I’m great at transitions and that I navigate them with ease and with overwhelming faith, but that’s just not the case. Transitions are usually areas of struggle for me. In fact, I don’t think I’m all that great at managing change in general. When things are up in the air or I feel any unsteadiness, doubt and fear begin to creep in, filling my heart and mind.
I usually find myself wanting to cling to the past instead of confidently walking into the new thing in front of me. As a generally risk-adverse person, I long for the stability of what once was, even if it was dysfunctional, unhealthy, or I was miserable. I have a major fear of the unknown that rears its ugly head every time I find myself in yet another transition.
When the safety net of circumstance is pulled out from under me and I’m in the free-fall of transition, I am presented with the beautiful opportunity to cling even closer to God. Do I always take the opportunity right away? No, of course not. I want to manage and fix and problem-solve. I want to arrange everything so that it’s ‘just so’. I try to make myself as comfortable as possible in an entirely uncomfortable time. But, eventually, I find myself clinging to him, usually when my efforts come up short.
At the beginning of the transition, I’m resistant. I don’t want to take a step. I’m in denial.
But the Lord is patient with me.
Then I move to a place of acceptance and I begin listening to God and those around me.
And I hear Him speak kindly to me.
Then I begin to walk the steps in front of me. I’m always full of fear, rarely full of excitement, but I obey anyway.
Through moving cities and states, losing and quitting jobs, and changing careers multiple times, I’ve learned this: God is good. And with every fearful step of obedience I’ve taken, he’s shown himself faithful.
I wish there was a 5-step plan to succeeding in the midst of transition, but I don’t think such a thing exists. Sure there are tools and strategies that can be applied practically to circumstances to make them more manageable but, at the end of the day, it all comes down to trust.
Right now, I wouldn’t say that I’m in the middle of a transition but I definitely feel like I’ve been free falling for months. Some moments are exciting and filled with laughter and joy, other moments are filled with absolute and undeniable dread. But, regardless of how I’m feeling, God’s goodness can be seen so clearly: the random stranger who pays for my coffee, a friend who speaks kind words to me, a beautiful rain shower, and God’s peace that floods my heart.
Transitions are beautiful opportunities to trust. These can be precious times of increased dependence and reliance upon the One who is wholly reliable. Transitions are rarely easy, but Jesus didn’t promise us that life would be easy, he just promised that he wouldn’t leave us. And, in the midst of a bumpy season, a frightening free fall, or a left turn that came out of nowhere, sometimes that promise of “I’m with you” is more than enough.