Thriving in the Midst of Transition
When asked how they are doing, I hear many people respond, “I’m in transition.” I think that is code – code for, “My life is falling apart and I don’t know what the heck is going on!” Of course, we don’t want to admit that so we mask our response by simply saying, “I’m in transition.”
Transitions are not always easy. In fact, most of the time they are painful. But transition is also necessary. It is a vital and inevitable part of our lives. Everything is in a constant state of transition. The laws of the universe teach us this. So we need to know how to navigate through times of transition with peaceful grace and dignity.
God moves in seasons. Paul said in II Corinthians 3:18 that we are transitioning into Christ’s image from “glory to glory.” Jeremiah told the nation of Moab that unlike Israel they had not transitioned from “vessel to vessel” and, therefore, retained a sinful taste and scent before God (Jeremiah 48:11). To the Philippians Paul said, “
(Philippians 3:13-14).” Paul understood that transition was a necessary part for his lifelong journey towards the prize.
But transitions are hard!
They force us from the familiar and into the unknown. And often we go kicking and screaming...
...but in the end, we still go whether we like it or not.
So we might as well embrace transition and make the best of it. If it’s going to happen anyway, let’s learn how to make transitions work for us. The first step is identifying why we often resist transitions. Understanding this can help us avoid making those same mistakes again.
Intuitively, I think, people know that transition will cost them something. This is why they want to remain in the old season. Every transition has a time of ending, a time of chaos and a time of new beginnings. All three stages are challenging in and of themselves. Put them all together and you have an all out spiritual assault!
There are three major mindsets that keep us from transitioning into something new.
Mindset #1: COMFORT: This is especially prevalent among Western Christians. We often opt for comfort and convenience over the challenge of transition. People
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I
do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things
which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
know that in order to transition, they will have to get off the couch and play the game. So they refuse to move forward choosing to remain in their comfort zone.
Mindset #2: FEAR: People are afraid of the unknown. What makes a movie suspenseful is not knowing what will happen next. After you have already seen the movie, the scenes lose their ability to frighten you. When transition comes, because it carries an element of the unknown, people shrink back in fear.
Mindset #3: SENTIMENTALITY: Some people don’t transition because they would rather live in yesterday’s familiar revelation than search for a new one. They are content to live in yesterday’s victory rather than having to fight for one today. This plagues many mature Christians who have fought and won many battles in their lifetimes. At some point, they fight harder defending themselves against their critics than they do fighting to receive new revelation.
If you are ready for a transition in your life or you are presently going through a transition right now, here are four things that might help in this season.
1. ACCEPT that transition is inevitable. It’s going happen whether you like it or not so you might as well make the best of it.
2. EMBRACE the risk. Risk is an inevitable part of the transition process. See this time as an opportunity to display your faith. See it as God’s way of surprising you with something better.
3. EXPECT negative consequences. It’s going to happen. Don’t let this catch you off guard. People are going to be critical. There will be a time of chaos when you are travelling between has was and what will be. Expect some anxiety and confusion to try to sneak in. This is all a necessary part of the process. Without these things there would be no victory.
4. MOVE forward in spite of it all. There’s only one way to go through transition – and that’s to go through it! Never stop. Never give in. Keep going. One is reminded of the repetitive words of Winston Churchill he once gave in a speech, “
never!” Those are good words when you are going through transition.
never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-
So the next time you or someone else says, “I’m going through transition,” you can
do so without any cover-up. Say it with enthusiasm. Say it with excitement. You’re
about to enter into a new season of greater glory!