How To Thrive In Transition
Are you in a time of transition? Your response to transition shapes your future.
Whether it is chosen or thrust upon you, change brings both opportunities and turmoil. Transitions are hard! They force us from the familiar and into the unknown.
Lewis Carroll, in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland gives us access to an insightful conversation between Alice and the caterpillar.
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
“This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.” Alice replied, rather shyly, “I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
Change is one of the most feared things that human beings encounter. We resist it with every fiber of our being. We love stability. We love for things to remain as they are. But the inevitable aspect of life is that it always changes. One person said: the only thing constant is change.
Change is a part of life but it doesn’t automatically produce personal growth. I have discovered that one must learn the skill of transition.
A transition is not a change just for the sake of change, a transition is moving from one point to another point. It is essentially moving forward. When we, as Christ followers, encounter transition and life begins to get shaky and unfamiliar, realize God is taking us somewhere. He is re-positioning us.
I used to have this idea that transition was like a waiting room—you stay in there for a while, and then you are released. Not so. There are many small actions steps involved
In times of transition, I cannot see the future. But as I trust God, I can take the next small step, and I can find the strength for one small step at a time.
It is impossible to get from where you are to where you are going without making a transition. There are things you cannot learn, or experience or develop staying where you are. God wants to strategically position you to receive what you couldn’t where you are presently.
In Luke chapter 8 the bible relates a story about transition.
Luke 8:22-23 (NLT) Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. 23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.
“They were in real danger.” This storm was not just perceived difficulties. They weren’t figments of the imagination. In other words, there were real challenges. This was a real physical obstacle to their mission.
Many times following God’s will does not take us down the easy road. It will not provide us with the path of least resistance. Many times we will find ourselves in the midst of a storm and feel as though we are in some type of jeopardy.
Losing a job is a real challenge. Moving to a new city and getting to know new people is not just a perceived trauma – it is real. Dealing with seasons of change in our homes and families are real.
Above all, we need to remember that if God brought you to it, He will see you through it. And, we must remember that the storm is not the destination but the pathway to a destination. God has not forgotten us in this storm, and we are still going somewhere – there is still divine purpose in our lives.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us, Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (CEV)
God Himself does not change. The principles by which He interacts with man do not change, but the work that God is doing in our lives and in the world around us is progressive.
God never said there would be no storms. He never said there would be no challenges. He never said that it wouldn’t be scary sometimes, but he did say we would make it. Our destiny is greater than our storm.
For the disciples, transition from one side of the lake to another was not just an unfortunate side effect. It is a part of the process. Before we can get from where we are to where we need to be, we will have to be convinced God is good and his plan for our life is ideal.
This story shows me three invitations in a time of transition:
1. Transition is an invitation to draw closer to Christ and deepen your prayer life.
Luke 8:24 (NLT) The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm!
• Who are you talking to about your fears?
• To whom or what are you turning to for comfort, security and strength?
2. Transition is an invitation to review your faith.
I know all too well the lessons I missed through some of the changes I’ve experienced in life. We know where we need to go, and we know what will happen when we arrive, but somehow we lose sight of all of this while making the transition. We forget who we are, who is on board and what he has said. We forget what God has said about us. We lose our identity.
Jesus said, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” When Jesus has plans to go to the other side of the lake, nothing is going to stop him.
Luke 8:25 (NLT) Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”
• How well do you know Christ?
• How might you know him more?
3. Transition is an invitation to participate in God’s plan to heal and redeem others.
Luke 8:26-27 (NLT) 26 So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town.
Jesus, with his ministry team, arrived on the other side. On this side of the lake was a man in desperate need of deliverance. Jesus needed to position his team in order to meet a need and impact a city. He knew they could not do that from the other side of the lake. In other words he knew there present position was ineffective for the need. Jesus knew in order for them to be in a place of effectiveness, they would have to cross a sea and weather a storm.
God wants to grow you because there are people you have not met who need what he will place in you.
Transitions are empowering when you embrace them with faith. When you follow Jesus you learn how to thrive in the seasons of transition.