When faced with a major life transition, how will you navigate your soul?
Career changes; Role changes (getting married, becoming a parent, becoming an empty nesters); and Unexpected Life changes (being diagnosed with a major illness, losing a loved one, divorce, caring for a child or parent)… these common life events can often make the average Jane and Joe feel extremely unprepared for the journey ahead.
A combination of two or more of the above transition examples, happening simultaneously, can wreak havoc on the soul of those who find themselves on such a path.
Like the day our daughter came to us in tears…
because she wanted to postpone her wedding.
She, all 23 years of her, felt completely overwhelmed and unprepared for the journey of becoming a wife. She wanted more time.
Time to gain more confidence; to prepare herself for being a confident wife; to assure herself that she had grown up enough to take on this new role and identity of being the wife of her beloved, Matthew.
We fully supported her decision to slow down the marriage time-table while she reassured us, her man, and the rest of her family and friends of these three things…
“I still want that man,
that ring, and that dress;
I just need more time” (her exact words).
It is not so much the kinds of transition we experience but the way we journey through them.
This truth is important not only to the well-being of our own soul but also because of the way our journey affects others.
Sadly, we do not always give ourselves permission to process the turmoil going on within the secret place of our heart and mind, nor do we fully realize all the good to be gained from our transition periods.
In our humanness, we elect to take the rush-through-life approach. But such haste can create a great deal of anxiety and bad-decision making, to be sure.
What we need to withstand the journey through transition is:
perseverance, patience, and peace.
If only(!) we would take time to camp-out and allow ourselves to extract the benefits of our transitional journeys we would more fully begin to appreciate these uncomfortable, in-between places of our lives.
We may not even realize there are benefits worth considering, because the benefits, far too often, are overshadowed by the difficulties of transition. (You can read more about baby daughter’s journey into marriage here).Why do we allow those self-defeating voices (our own and the voice of others) to press into the sacred space of personal change?
What do you when you hear words like:
“Get over it and get on with it!”
“What are you waiting for?”
“Put your big girl / big boy pants on and move on!”
And while we may need a swift kick in the pants (wink) from loved ones from time to time for lingering too long in those in-between places of our lives, my concern is this:
We fail to linger long enough in times of transition.
And we end up shortening the process of discovering some amazing new things about ourselves, about others, about the God who made us to be so much more, for so much more!
Journeys are, well…they are just that;
they are jour.neys.
Merriam-Webster defines journey this way. A journey is:
1) an act or instance of traveling from one place to another” 2) something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another such as, the journey from youth to maturity, or a journey through time. 3) a going from one place to another usually of some distance
The connotation is clear.
A journey involves the element of time. And time, when viewed as a gift, invites our participation. In other words, our journey through transition should be viewed as a type of pilgrimage; a quest of sorts; to discover:
Our journey through times of transition invites us into a kind of slowing; of valuing; of noticing; of appreciating.
It’s a journey meant to arouse that place deep within.
Our journeys can become an invitation to develop our character and clarify our purpose and goals. It also plays an important part in our lives to mature us in areas of personal endurance, perseverance, patience, faith and so much more.
Get this…At age 52 I became a flight attendant.
Previous to the life I am living now as a Writer-on-the-Fly,
I raised eight children; ran a home business making soft home furnishings; spent a number of years in the non-profit sector working with coaches, athletes, their families, teen moms, and at-risk high school students. I also started a non-profit leadership organization with my husband, completed my Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary; encountered some health setbacks; then worked as a college career advisor for a period of time guiding the careers of some amazing creatives! And by the grace of God, my (wonderful and supportive) husband and I managed to maintain a fairly healthy marriage. (We celebrate 35 years of marriage this December 2014).
The point is, I understand what it means to go through many types of transition. At times, I went through at least three major changes all at once.
But truth be told, I was not prepared for the stress and strain that sent me spiraling into (what some would refer to as) a depression of sorts. (I choose to use other words for that part my journey; but more on that at a later date).
Whether we are making a major career change, shedding off old roles and titles, adjusting to a major illness or experiencing a relational loss of some kind (death, divorce, division) the journey through these often turbulent (the flight attendant in me speaking) and tumultuous (the mother of eight in me speaking) times, have a way of teaching us more than we would ever learn on our own and NOT going through difficult seasons of change. Difficulties that have life-giving benefits to ourselves and others. Difficulties that yield the fruit of hope.
And yet, In all our rushing to get from one place in life to another, we end up missing out all that the journey itself has to offer.
We need to reach within and persevere.
Otherwise, we may miss out on some incredible opportunities.
Opportunities to grow.
Opportunities to change.
Opportunities to gain a fresh perspective on life.
Opportunities to overcome hidden fears.
Opportunities to develop new skills.
Opportunities to become more compassionate toward ourselves and others.
Opportunities to become something more than we presently are.
Opportunities to become more of who God made us to be.
No. The journey through transition is not something to be rushed or hurried.
And you and I are the only ones who can alter our pace through such seasons of change. We make the call on how fast or slow we proceed. But let’s face it. No false pretense here…
Transitions can be hard.
And whenever transition involves a certain type of loss, we might even experience certain levels of guilt, grief, fear, doubt, and uncertainty.
We need to be patient.
We need to allow ourselves time to heal.
We need to allow ourselves time to grieve.
We need to allow ourselves time to identify and overcome hidden fears.
We need to allow hope to arise within us once again.
We need to allow ourselves time to meet with our Maker and allow his truth to settle our anxious hearts down.
We need to allow the process of change to take its course.
We need to allow ourselves to be reminded that God is doing something good within us.
But transitions can also be incredibly beautiful.
We need to quiet heart, mind, body, and soul.
We need to be still.
We need to rest.
We need to be at peace.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
So here it is:
In the coming winter weeks, I’d like to invite you to take a journey with me.
A journey of raw, honest struggle through some very difficult seasons of change. Some mine, some others.
This will be a journey that will challenge you to become a more persevering, patient, and peaceful kind of person, especially concerning your unknown future.
I’ve been writing about my transitional journeys for quite some time now; several years in fact. And although the road has been rocky and difficult at times, it has led me to some wonderful, pleasant and surprising places along the way.
I am eager to share what I have learned and am still learning in this not often discussed journey through “transition.”
And while I don’t have all the details figured out yet on how this is going to roll out, I am committed to this journey with you.
A journey I am calling…
Found in Transition
I’ll be honest, this is a bit scary for me.
I’ve been hesitant to “go public” with my transition journey; primarily because of fear.
Fear of what others may think.
Fear of being vulnerable.
Fear of not being a good enough writer who delivers content worthy of reading.
Fear of where this journey might lead.
Fear of failure.
Fear of success.
Oh – but that Voice within…that Spirit within…
compels me to take the difficult climb out of my comfort zone to connect with others who also find themselves lost in the in-between seasons of life, and allow God to use my journey to lend a hand to you in yours.
More than anything, my goal is to be:
– a voice of encouragement.
– a voice of understanding.
– a voice that offers guidance and hope.
Over the next several weeks and months I will be sharing my “Found in Transition” journey with you.
A journey that has taught me a great deal about myself, about others, and about God.
In the end, our journey (through transition) is not about being lost at all.
The journey through transition is more about being found.
Found in identity; found in purpose; and found in calling.
(I will elaborate on all this and more down the road…no pun intended.)
Would you like to come along?
Does this sound like where you are in life?
Are you going through a major season of change?
Is there someone you know who is smack dab in the middle of an uncomfortable place of transition?
Feeling a bit stuck?
Feeling a bit lost?
And a bit confused on how to move forward?
Well, you are not alone. They are not alone. We are not alone.
We…the broken, bewildered, and the beautiful.
The journey starts right now.
Right here. Right where you are.
It is my sincere hope that this Found in Transition journey will lead you to places of newness; not in spite of the journey you have traveled, but because of the journey you have traveled.
For “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
Only God can take our change, our loss, or pain, our grief, and use it for good.
Only we can allow him to do it.
It will take time.
There will be no need to put on your running shoes. (You may, however, opt for some good hiking shoes).
We’re going to take it slow.
We’re going to stop and smell the virtual roses.
Perseverance and Patience will become close companions.
And Peace will become your friend.
Together, we will become known as:
The Tribe of Transitioners’ Found
So here are a few suggestions before we set out for the journey ahead:
- Share this post (via Facebook, Twitter, Email, WordPress, or on your own blog) with anyone you can think of who you think might benefit from joining us on this journey.
- Start a Found in Transition journal. This will help you process your own journey. It could be a designated handwritten book journal or you could use any number of online programs, like Pages or Word. Regardless of your method, this is the place where you process YOUR thoughts about YOUR transition journey. (The benefits are having this journal will serve you well down the road, I promise you.)
- You may want to start a Blog. Although I started my WordPress blog on my own a few years back I would highly recommend linking up with JeffGoins and his video on step by step instructions on how to start a blog in eight minutes. Here is the link to that post: http://goinswriter.com/launching-a-blog/ He’s a really cool guy who is incredibly helpful, generous and practical.
- Subscribed to my Blog. So that you are sure to receive all future posts on this subject, please make sure you add your email address to the email tab on this page. (If you already have a blog, please include the link to your page so that we can also follow you).
- Please use one of the following hashtags when tweeting: #foundintransition #transitionersfound #transitiontribe
Lastly, but most important of all….
6. Please introduce yourself. In the comment section below I want to invite you to tell us a little about your personal transition story. And what you are struggling with, learning, or hope to learn through your season of change(s).
Whether you are ready to launch into a major life-transition, are in the middle of transition, or are on the other side, you are welcome to camp out here with us. And I hope you do so!
I know that something wonderful in store for you – not once you get on the other side of your transition, but while you are in it!
I am looking forward to taking this journey with you.
Together, we will discover amazing things along the way.
This, my friend will be a journey worth embracing.
Until next time, may you embrace life’s transitions as they come – whether invited or not.
I look forward to hearing your transition stories if you’d be so kind to share your journey.