Let’s face it! Transitions are difficult to navigate through. No matter how many books you read on the subject and no matter how many words of wisdom are spit your way that are meant to help (albeit good words of encouragement), personally going through those rough waters yourself is a whole different story. Each transition is different and every person deals with them in a variety of ways. There’s not one “right” way to transition. In fact, I don’t necessarily believe there’s a “healthy” way to transition. I simply believe navigating well helps to make transitions bearable. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve heard and have received a bunch of amazing nuggets of wisdom these past few months as it relates to the issue at hand that has actually helped,but dealing with my own transition has been difficult.
Tomorrow, I officially depart the church I have served at for the past 10 years and it sucks!
And I get it.
Seasons end. Jobs have an expiration date. And ministries pave way for up and coming leaders, moving existing ones on to the next assignment.
Nonetheless, necessary endings, well, finally come to pass and they’re painful.
The folks at New Life and I, like most ministerial relationships, was definitely more than mere pastoral/member association. We shared life together and that, in and of itself, went way beyond my job title. I’ve been a part of many of their families and I’ve seen many of their children grow into mature adults. I’ve witnessed, for that matter, many of their children say, “Hello,” to the world for the first time and I’ve dedicated a good number of their kids to the Lord. I’ve joined many in marriage and I’ve said, “Goodbye,” to some of their beloved ones.
Simply put, I’ve become a family member to many of the New Lifers and leaving family is difficult on many levels.
So, on the eve of my last day at New Life, as many before me have given, I present my “3 Steps to a Bearable Transition.”
1. It’s OK to Veg
It helps a great deal knowing that some legs of the transition journey doesn’t have to be an educational moment. There’ll be plenty of time to learn from your transition experience. No one is really an expert at transitions and we don’t have to pretend to be one. There’s nothing wrong with playing video games all night nor is it an abomination to randomly load up the family into the car to take a spontaneous trip to Legoland and spend money you don’t necessarily have. It’s OK to have friends over for a night of S’Mores without having to talk through the emotional pain that comes with moving from one season to the next. And it’s OK to sleep in longer than normal. It may not last forever, and it shouldn’t, but vegging is good for the transitioning soul.
2. Be Honest
When someone asks the inevitable, “How are you doing?”, it’s perfectly fine to be honest. Tell the truth of how you’re feeling that very moment when said question is asked. If you’re feeling sad, don’t try to mask your sorrow. If you’re actually happy in that moment, jump for joy. And if you’re mad, tell the person how angry you are. Most people aren’t checking up on you just to be cordial. They actually want to know and are there to help. Allow them to. Covering up your emotions only fuels the pain. Talking about where you’re at emotionally has a funny way of providing a platform for healing.
3. Dive Into the Scriptures
Believe it or not, God’s Word is amazing at helping to navigate through transitions. There are many folks in the Bible who went through crazy transitions…Moses and Israel’s flee from Egyptian bondage…David assuming the throne…the Gentiles being welcomed into God’s family…God becoming Man…and these examples remind us that we’re not alone. These transitions also reveal God in the midst of the pain and the sorrow, many times feeling the heartache as we experience them. The people, at the end of all these transitions, we’re filled with joy again. God showed His compassionate care and love for His people through these difficult times. If anything, He reminded folks that He never left them. Reading about these godly folks is very encouraging.
So, there you have it.
I hope this helps to numb the pain when you go through your transitions and helps to make your future moves bearable.
How about you?