TRANSITION: A BURDEN OR BLESSING?
transition; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
It’s the word that we’re not taught. We’re taught to successfully arrive and finish – but not to switch. Not the time in-betweens. We’re taught to get up and go and finish with grace and excellence – but it’s the time between the start and the ending where we all find ourselves stuck, upset, and confused.
There was a reason the ending came – but what now? What new beginning?
I hit this point after college. I realized I had it kind of easy before this. Growing up, the “next change” was mostly set for me: Elementary to Junior High to High School to College. My life was lived in semesters and at times, I miss that.
I miss the times when transition was expected.
But now I’m here at 28 and in the past 10 years I’ve moved 13 times and held 12 jobs. I’ve gone through every type of break-up you can imagine, from boyfriends to best friends (which can be equally as painful), I’ve been through church changes, family deaths, job loss and gain, relational joys and valleys, financial ups and downs, and every other kind of transition possible. And some of you may be even thinking some of those listed aren’t ‘transitions’ – but that’s what I’m here to bring to light. Each of those – though they outwardly held different emotions, symptoms, and fruits – inwardly were all used for similar purposes.
As I mentioned before, I’m 28 and there are far wiser and prominent women leaders in ministry who could give you every kind of advice. Each one with their own flavor and own truths to accompany them. However, since you decided to read this far, I truly believe for me (and for you) that every transition is designed, timed, and strategically created for specific purposes – 1) to discomfort 2) to prune 3) to bear fruit.
discomfort; slight pain; synonyms (soreness, tenderness, irritation)
Think of every change you’ve gone through, whether a physical move, a relational break up, or even a body adjustment like the loss or gain of weight. What is usually the immediate response? Discomfort. Even when it’s a good thing – like a new job, new relationship, or even an exciting move or adventure. It’s new, it’s out of your comfort zone – yes, that’s it. Out of your comfort zone.
You don’t know what to do. You need help adjusting. You need assistance working out the soreness and pressure that seems to be overwhelming the tender parts of your heart, soul, or even body.
God allows transition for this purpose. If we’re comfortable, why would we need His assistance? If we’re not slightly in some sort of distress, where is the need for His protection, provision, or most importantly – a relationship with Him.
In my younger days I used to play games with guys. Okay, okay, sometimes I still do but I promise I’m getting better. I would create fights so that we could make up or worse, so that he would chase me and I would feel wanted or valued that much more.
Talk about insecure, I know. But hear me out – I did this so that the discomfort would lead to closeness.
My goal was for the discomfort to lead to closeness, intimacy, and gained trust. It’s jacked up in my case because I’m selfish and insecure and trying to find my worth in a man when I do this – but when God allows discomfort in our lives, He’s doing it because He wants us close and intimate with Him.
Transition starts in discomfort so that we can find our comfort in the only One who can fully work out the soreness and soften the blows that change lands on our tender hearts.
prune; reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous (unnecessary) parts
I really do hate this word. It’s so overused in the church – but at the same time, I think for obvious reasons. Our society is obsessed with being busy and having stuff. We want to be busy to feel successful and we want more and more stuff to seem valuable to those looking at us from the outside. We’ve become so good at adding – but pruning, removing – yeah, no we’re not so good at that.
So God orders transition in our life – which the word itself means to leave something to arrive somewhere else. When we’re in transition (again, even those that are good) there are things that are not meant to go with us – for a reason.
God wouldn’t be shifting you or I if there wasn’t a reason and He would be drawing us away if there wasn’t a purpose behind it all.
The discomfort mentioned before leads to us realizing our need to prune away to survive. It’s an opportunity to lose the extra baggage on the journey, if you will. Just like airlines have weight limits on bags (which I never seem to meet), so do our seasons. We were never meant to carry every job, person, relationship, or situation into every season. Though this seems common sense, transition has a way of highlighting areas we’ve held onto longer than we should have. If you find yourself carrying baggage from a few seasons ago, those things can begin to harm other areas of our life because we’re not willing to let it go.
Transition leads to purposeful pruning that allows us to let go of the things that are no longer adding value or reaping fruit in our life. Refusing to prune in transition is similar to what happens when you refuse to prune a tree – it can’t bear fruit in the following season due to the overgrown parts of the previous one.
TO BRING FRUITFULNESS
fruitful; producing an abundant growth
After the discomfort has passed and our reliance is found in our Comforter and through that intimate relationship, areas to prune are revealed and, if we’re obedient to commit to that process, fruitfulness can be birthed.
And this is what I believe is the heart of the Father; the reason for transition, the reason for seasons and change – for us to bear fruit.
Whether that means excelling at a new job, finding contentment in a new city or home, or finding trust in a new relationship, through the process of transition our destination will always be to find abundance in the will for our lives that God shows us. The process of transition has always meant to be just that – a process. A journey from one season of fruitfulness that becomes parched in winter where we then prune and find our way into a new season of fruit-bearing in another area. Usually, this leads to growth in an area we didn’t even realize we were desiring fruit to reap.
Transition can be scary and sometimes confusing, but what did I say at the beginning? We’re taught to gear up to start and finish with excellence – when you see transition coming or even when you don’t, if you think on these three pit stops during this in-between season you’ll realize that you’re starting and planning to finish transition the same.
Lean into the discomfort.
Allow the Lord to identify areas to prune.
Reap the benefits of a fruitful new beginning.
Each of those can and will take as long as you and the Lord allow, and that’s not for me to speak to – however, I do believe that once you realize the beauty of change and transition, the scary, unknown of it all will become less of a burden and more of a blessing.
“But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.
I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God.” - Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15 (The Message)