Many people say change is hard and some even go so far as to say they hate change. But what I have realized is most people don’t really hate change; they hate the process of change. The process of change is a transition. Change is good and can even be exciting. However, enduring transition can be tiring, and just flat out unpleasant. Yet the thing is life is full of many kinds of transitions, so we need to learn to transition gracefully. All of us have gone through some kind of transition in life, such as going away to college, getting married, having kids, change in career, moving to a new state, losing a loved one, and many other things. Transitions are inherent to life. However, transitions are not easy and definitely not always enjoyable. They can even cause discouragement and depression in people if not handled correctly.
Recently, I have been facing transition in both my personal life and in my ministry. My kids are growing up and I am learning that I am in a new season of parenting. I thought toddlers were hard, and then they became teenagers. Both are rewarding but both are difficult seasons. Also, our ministry is going through a lot of transition right now. It seems like I am being hit with change in every area of my life; it’s been overwhelming. I was complaining to God about all the transition and then he shared something with me that changed my perspective. He said, “You can’t have transformation without transition.”
“A process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.”
“A change in form or appearance.”
You must go through transition to be transformed. It is interesting that both transition and transformation have the prefix “trans” which has a Latin origin. Trans means across, beyond, and changing thoroughly. We need to learn to transition with grace if we want to move beyond our current limitations. When we handle life’s transitions well, we actually allow God to not only take us to the other side but to do a transforming work that changes us from the inside out.
It is God’s will for His children to change from their old selves and to be made new in Him. There are many scriptures that confirm this, but one of my favorites is 2 Corinthians 5:17 which states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”. Transitions actually cause us to look more like Jesus, if we allow Him to transform us more into His image. Therefore it is important for us to deal with transitions in a healthy and godly way.
3 tips to handle life’s tough transitions:
1. RECOGNIZE GOD’S HAND IS IN YOUR TRANSITION
It is important to train your spiritual eyes to recognize the work God is doing in your life in the middle of a life transition. However, if we are not careful, it is also easy to mistake a transition in life for an identity crisis. God may be changing you in this season of transition, but he does not change your identity in Him. Your season and assignment may change but God’s hand is still on your life and His love for you remains the same. It is comforting to know even if everything changes around you, Jesus does not change. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Therefore, don’t give up in the middle of a life transition because it is in seasons of transition that God’s hand is even more evident in your life. He uses life’s transitions to transform you more into the person He created you to be. Learn to see God’s hand in your situation and allow His hand to help you through to the other side of the transition you are facing.
2. LEARN TO GROW THROUGH TRANSITIONS
God desires to mature you through the transitions you face. He is more concerned about changing you than changing your situation. Paul challenges us in Romans 12:2 to “…not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will”. It is easy to question God’s will in the middle of life transitions. We can even think to ourselves if God is good then why has God allowed this to happen to me? The enemy tries to attack our minds during difficult transitions in life. That is why the scripture exhorts us to not think like the world, but instead to renew our minds with the Word of God. We must have a holy determination to grow through the transitions we undergo. When we decide to allow our difficult transitions to mature us, we actually become more resilient. The enemy’s tricks and schemes become more obvious and we begin to look more like Jesus.
3. TRUST GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU DURING THE TRANSITION
I cannot overstate how important it is to develop a personal relationship with God and to really lean into Him especially during life’s difficult transitions. The temptation that most of us face during difficult transitions is to figure things out on our own. However, the scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust is imperative in relationships, including your relationship with God. We prove our trust when we submit to Him during seasons of change. God is the one who makes our paths straight before us and He is the one who has amazing plans for our lives. His ways are so much higher than our ways; He may even be using the transition we are enduring to thrust us into our destiny. So stop your worrying and complaining and start trusting that God has you and your situation under control.
If life transitions have you feeling like you are drowning and you can’t handle one more thing, remind yourself that God is ultimately in control. Nothing happens to you that God does not know about. He either has ordained it or allowed it. If you are in the middle of a transition and it feels like a storm in your life, remember the one who has the power to calm the storm. His hand is on you, He is growing you, and His plan for you will prevail!
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21