Transitions. We all have them. Some transitions fill us with expectation and excitement, others fill us with dread and uncertainty. Some transitions are of our own making, others are sometimes forced upon us. But there is no doubt, good or bad, we all need to learn how to adjust to transition in our lives. It is especially difficult to make a smooth transition when change comes our way, not through our own choosing, but through circumstances–sometimes beyond our control or understanding.
We transition from one stage of our life to another and sometimes go with the flow and sometimes go kicking and screaming at the injustice of life. So how do we get a handle on making transitions, especially when we are experiencing hurt and anger over things out of our control? Here are some things that I have learned along the way.
- Yep, life is not fair. We often think that life should always be equitable and just. But in reality it is not. Often transitions are thrust upon us without our choosing. I have had to learn that if the transition I am making not only impacts me but also others, I may need to take a stand against injustices I see. I have learned that it is good to question my motives and attitudes when transition is thrust upon me. Sometimes if the transition only impacts me, I need to learn to let go and forgive. Becoming critical and divisive during a transition hurts everyone, me included.
- Life does give us lemons so learn to make lemonade or lemon meringue pie, or whatever it is you do with lemons. Sometimes our transition is difficult due to circumstances beyond our control. When my spouse died unexpectedly it would have been very easy to become bitter and angry. I had to make a choice on how I would react. It is a well-known fact that choosing positive attitudes helps us make transitions more easily. Looking at opportunities instead of obstacles makes a huge difference in how we transition from one stage of life to another.
- Life is all about relationships. There is no other thing in life as important to us as our relationships–with God, with family, with friends, and with co-workers. Surround yourself with people who have positive outlooks, who are not afraid to help you see things from a different perspective, and who love Jesus and not just religion. Having their love and support during a transition, no matter how it has come about, makes all the difference in the world.
- Life is about lessons learned. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to be patient during transition. Change isn’t always easy and for some it is harder than others. Sometimes I have looked back on transitions I have made and am in awe of how much I learned during that time period. I have learned that I am stronger than I think. I have learned that God knows much better than I do what my needs are. I have learned that I am extremely blessed with wonderful family and friends. And I have learned that I certainly have my flaws that were easily highlighted during times of transition. Through transitions we learn about who we are and who we want to be.
- Life is about courage. Many of us are afraid of change. And it keeps us from experiencing blessings that may abound. We stay in a job we hate because we are afraid to branch out into another career we could be passionate about. We do not make a move across the country and the unknown, because we do not want to leave the familiar and known. Sometimes making that first step toward transition is the hardest thing you may ever do, but the biggest blessing you may ever experience. Does every transition turn out great? Not necessarily, but that is the cool thing about transition, you can make another one!
I cannot help but think about all of the people in the Bible who made huge transitions in their lives. Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Rahab, Ruth, David, Mary of Magdalene, Peter, Paul and so many others. I am sure they all felt times of uncertainty and fear of the unknown, but I love being able to see what God did in their lives through times of transition. I can only pray that I can show the same faith they have shown when opportunities of transition come my way.