Monday, November 18, 2013

How To Live Faithfully Through Transition

By Jill Daniels
In this post college world, many of us are constantly going through transitions. 
Whether it’s getting a job, moving back home, getting married or starting fresh with a new group of friends, we all have our hands full of transition.

So how, in the midst of those transitions, do we continue to live faithfully the call we have to follow Christ? That question is one I have asked myself a handful of times over the past three years.

After I graduated college I got married and moved to Illinois. I started a new job and started going to a new church. I made new friends the first year and changed jobs the second year. Just as I was starting to feel at home, God changed our plans and moved us back to Michigan. We lived with my husband’s parents for a couple months, bought a house and are now living in a construction zone (at least it feels like it). We both started new jobs and are in the process of making new friends at a new church. Can I say I am ready for these transitions to end? But if I can see any sort of trend in my life, it’s that God uses these transitions to truly make me rely on Him! 

See, through these past three years of what seemed like endless transition God has really shown up in my life. Yes, I have messed up big time and have learned from my mistakes, but God also gave me some tips along the way with how to deal with the next transition. I’d like to share some of those tips I’ve had whispered in my ear along the way with you all!

Tip 1: Keep disciplined. Spend time with God, read the Word and pray.

Proverbs 5:23 states, “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

This Proverb is saying that if we do not stay disciplined then we will be led astray. I have seen this in my life. Those days when I’m packing things up to move and the U-Haul is in the driveway, I tend to throw discipline out the door and start barking orders at anyone who is around. This is where I tend to be lead astray, when things get busy. But since this Scripture is true, which is what I believe, then I need to hear the Word of God and be spending time in prayer to keep on track in those stressful times. 

During those times of clinging to discipline it can tend to feel forced or like you aren’t yielding anything from the time you are spending with God, but Scripture tells us that in the end you will benefit.

Listen to Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So even if spending time with God feels like a chore, Scripture tells us that we will yield “the peaceful fruit of righteousness”. I’m not sure about you, but I would love to yield any “peaceful fruit” in times of stress and transition. Sounds great to me!

Tip 2: Find a community right away. Check out churches in the area. Find one that you like and get plugged in. You can have a trial period after you get plugged in to see if the church is really where you fit or not. But getting plugged in is very important right away. 

Community is key! My favorite passage in scripture about community, that I think sums up my life perfectly is Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

When we are alone we are more prone to attacks or to believe lies because we aren’t bouncing our thoughts off of other people. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Seeking out community is protecting you from the enemy. It is protecting you from falling away from the Lord. It may be hard to find a community where you feel completely at home, but don’t wait to get plugged in somewhere because you want to find that perfect place. Get plugged in and then search for your perfect place. Don’t wait! Find a community now!

Tip 3: Give yourself time to process what is going on in your heart through the transition. Give yourself grace to become acquainted with your new normal and accept that things will be different. 

Oooof! This one hits me right in the heart. I would say this is the hardest part for me during transition. I’m normally a reflective person but during transition I tend to think that nothing is going on in my heart--then it hits me a month later that I need to process through a lie that I’ve been believing all along.

Even though you might be spending time with God and being disciplined to pray and read His Word, you might not be asking Him to point out to you what he is doing in your life through this transition. What is he teaching you? What is he trying to void you of so you see that you need Him completely? 

God has a way of bringing Himself to light in times when we don’t even notice the power is out. Keep yourself in check to make sure you aren’t missing anything along the way that he is trying to teach you! It will help to process your transition along the way rather than process it all at the very end.

Transitions can be hard on relationships and most importantly our relationship with God. Give yourself grace when feeling unsettled or lost. Cling to God, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) He will be there for you. I promise!

God, I thank you for caring about us so deeply. Sometimes we are completely unaware of what you are doing with our lives and we feel lost. God I pray that during those times you would help us to know that you are doing things in our lives for our good, that you are good. Give us your Spirit to help discipline us, to give us courage to find a community and to show us what you are doing in our hearts. Thank you for always being there! 

Amen.

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