At times it can be tempting to think of transition as a bad word–one we’d rather not have to work through. However, it is a good thing that transitions are part of the journey in every life that is well-lived. They may be small changes, such as your dentist retires. You find another dentist and life goes on, Some transitions are merely inconvenient–things like needing to actually use those reading glasses. Others you know are coming…such as teenagers and driver’s licence’s. Some are exciting…job promotions and graduations. It is true that some transitions can be challenging, particularly for those of us who hang onto the familiar with an iron-clad, emotional grip that rivals the strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Transitions are game changers.
Transitions are that space between what was and what will be.
The sign post at the road of transition reads…not yet.
Transitions can include emotions of grieving what has been left and wondering what is next.
For me, they can be places of restlessness. The route on this ride includes rest stops in towns like grief, insecurity, displacement, loneliness, uncertainty, and sometimes, just general orneriness. These are often stops on the journey, but it is up to me as to how long I stay there. The nature of a rest stop is that it is a brief pause on the trip; it is not the destination. Nobody stops off at that rest area at the border of North Carolina and Virginia and says, “Now this is a nice place….think I’ll just stay here for a while”. Nobody camps out at the rest stop; in fact, if you try, those helpful guys in crisp uniforms and lights on their cars will make sure that you move on.
We need that sometimes, don’t we?
For me, it can be a temptation to get stuck where I don’t need to stop, and it is also a temptation to rush ahead when I need to wait.
On the other hand, there are also parts of the transition journey that are exciting. New opportunities, new friendships, new experiences and routines. New things to learn and do. Transition is often the process God uses to make room for new experiences and new growth in our lives.
The process of letting go and emptying our hands leaves them open for God to put something new into them.
I personally don’t enjoy hanging out empy-handed.
So… God is teaching me lessons of learning to wait with the patience that is a by-product of faith. God is very purposeful about transitions and he only moves when he is ready. His readiness is guided by his loving and providential plan for this next season of life. Though emotionally I may want to rush and grab hold of the closest thing so that my hands aren’t empty, I am learning to wait on God. After all, do I want my life to be filled with what was quick and easy, or do I want to be available to grab hold of the purpose and blessing that God is putting into place? I don’t know about you, but I would rather wait on God and do it right.
“But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
God takes the time to do everything right—everything.
Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”–Isaiah 30:18
Transitions often create fertile ground for God to move us from one place to another spiritually as well as circumstantially.
When we are trusting God in transition, it opens the way for deep work in the heart that cannot be scheduled or rushed. Out of my comfort zone, I am learning to lean into him and wait for the new route to emerge.
When I begin to look at transitions from this perspective, the picture changes from what I am loosing to what I am gaining.
It is faith that stands in the gap spelled t-r-a-n-s-i-t-i-o-n and looks forward to what God has next.
There are things God is waiting to do in our lives that aren’t going to happen if we are warming the bench at the rest stop.
It is faith that rises up and shouts, “get back on that bus and move on!”