Spring comes early in North Carolina. For weeks now we’ve been saying, “Spring is in the air.” According to the calendar it’s officially here as of today but my sinuses don’t need the reminder. Allergies seem to ride the coattails of seasonal transition.
We equate spring with new beginnings and why wouldn’t we after a long, cold winter? Trees bloom, birds sing like they’re rehearsing for a spring musical and the air swells with hope (and pollen. LOTS of pollen. ACHOO!) We live for new beginnings but with every new beginning we have to live through a pesky period of transition.
The truth about new beginnings
New beginnings start out just like springtime, all daffodils and dogwoods: an exciting promotion at work, the thrill of a new baby, a new house in a nicer neighborhood. Emotions are high and the future is bright.
And then you begin to go through transition:
Learning the ropes of the new position is harder than you thought and your colleagues are resentful. The boss is piling on the overtime.
You’ve got post-partum, the house is a wreck and you totally underestimated the exhaustion from middle of the night feedings.
The mountain of moving boxes feels insurmountable, the dog ran away and you start to wonder what you ever saw in this house.
The excitement of the “new” quickly gives way to discouragement and feelings of inadequacy. Will I ever get the hang of this? Will I ever feel normal again? Will this house ever be home?
Four things that make transition difficult:
- Not wanting to leave the past behind
- Living for the future
- Feeling like you’re all alone
- Believing you have inadequate resources
Remember when you learned how to write transition sentences in middle school? How hard it was at first but got easier with practice? The goal was to make the progression from one paragraph to the next as smooth as possible. Sounds like a pretty good life goal, too. Let’s think about how to smooth out your transition. (That was a transition sentence, by the way.)
4 steps to a smooth transition
1. Let go.
As much as I love winter, at some point I have to pack away my boots and pull out the sandals. In order to embrace the new we have to let go of the old. There may be relationships you have to let go of. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to know who those people are and for the grace and strength to obey.
You might need to let go of some baggage, too. New beginnings are great but remember, we bring ourselves with us. A change of scenery won’t remedy a wounded heart. Ask the Lord to help you: “… let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” Hebrew 12:1 TPT
2. Be present.
I remember in the middle of one of our myriads of moves, saying, “I’d give anything if it was six weeks from now.” Then six weeks later I’d say the same thing, because Hello…LIFE! It’s OK to anticipate the future as long as you accept and engage in the present.
BE where your feet are. And remember, “… as your days, so shall your strength be.” Deut 33:25 ESV
3. Remember who God is.
You already know this but now is when you have to put it on auto-repeat in your head:
He will never leave me or forsake me. His heart for me is good. His plans and purposes for me will prevail.
Remember there is an ending. It may not be in sight, but your future is unfolding minute by minute and He goes before you. He makes the rough places smooth. He brings treasure in the darkness.The biggest lesson I’ve learned (and I learned it in the midst of a painful transition) is HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS!
Ask the Father, “Who do you want to be for me in this transition? What aspect of your fatherhood do you want to reveal to me?”
4. Where God guides, He provides.
I know, I know, it’s overused, but don’t blame me; Isaiah said it first. “Then you will call and the Lord will answer; You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.'” Is 58:9. Our need is God’s opportunity. His name, Jehovah Jireh, means “Jehovah will see” (provide). If you’re having trouble believing it, look back and remember how He provided in the past. Thank Him for what He’s done and what He will do.
Transition is sneaky
The tricky part about transition is it can sneak up on you. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, my husband and I studied the Lamaze Method (no classes in our area back then; we just read the book) and we thought we were prepared for the stages of delivery.
Shocker: labor rarely goes by the book. I entered into transition while en route to the delivery room. That wasn’t part of the plan. Thankfully, Roger had the presence of mind to coach me through the breathing. Breathing is a good strategy for all kinds of transition.
Breathe in: “God will not leave me or forsake me.”
Breathe out: “I can do all things through Christ”
Breathe in: “God is my refuge and my strength,”
Breathe out: “a help in time of need.”
In the middle of transition you will need to repeatedly ask the Father to re-inspire you. Inhale Holy Spirit… exhale all that is not him. God’s breath is slow and steady. You don’t even have to strain to fill your lungs; just stay close enough to Him that you feel His breath on your face. It’s in HIM that we live and BREATHE and have our being.
God is a God of seasons, so if He says it’s the time for new beginnings, He will provide grace for the transition. Let go of every remnant of the past, embrace the scary/sacred of where you are presently, press in to the Father, and trust that He will provide.
*If you’re in the middle of transition, I’d love to hear your story and pray for you!