I remember my first romantic heartbreak. I actually recall crying myself to sleep on multiple nights because I was moving away from my girlfriend. I didn’t want to do it, but my parent’s decision to move was above my pay grade and I had no choice in the matter. She was the girl of my dreams and I was head over heels in love but I had no choice but to leave her.
I was only in the second grade when that particular family move seemingly destroyed my romantic life. Although it was difficult I eventually got over it and learned to move on with life. Yes, I am being facetious, but in reality this early event taught me that times of transition are sometimes very difficult for everyone involved.
Much to my chagrin it seems as though transition is a major part of my calling. I am one that is sent by the Lord. At this time my wife and I currently find our selves in the midst of another major transition of virtually everything in our lives. I cannot think of one single aspect of life that is not undergoing radical change right now. The toll on strength, stamina, emotions, spirit, finances, relationships, and on and on, has been excruciating. It is easy to find myself vacillating between highs, lows, depression, and joy. Each day can bring mood swings, new fears, and a barrage of questions in search of answers. Yet even as we transition we have to maintain our integrity, our ministry, meet our commitments and obligations, and on and on. This myriad of challenges equate to a lot of pressure.
There are times that life simply requires certain people to change virtually everything in their life. It is during these times that it is easy to lose our equilibrium.
Can you relate? If so this article is inspired for you.
Transitioning through transition is a process in itself. In other words you have to make modifications and adjustments because the very act of transition exacts a tremendous toll on human strengths and weaknesses. Transition can be difficult at best, but the following 10 tips can enable you to transform the transition experience into a positive event.
- Accept the fact that things are different. Don’t expect things to be the same because they simply will not be the same. Embrace the newness. Carry pictures and memories with you but move forward with a determination to accept your new environment. Don’t dwell on the way things were but speak of the way things are and how they will be in your new future.
- Allow yourself some time for emotional transition. Ecclesiastes 3:4-6 says there is,“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away”. You must give your self the permission and the needed time to grieve and then to move forward.
- Separation anxiety is normal but it is okay to move on. Our lives are defined by our relationships and experiences. If you were happy where you were, and had meaningful friends and relationships there, separation will be difficult. Discover ways to stay connected to those you know you need to stay connected to. Moving on doesn’t mean you have to sever precious relationships and connections. Instead use the new separation as an opportunity to strengthen lifetime relationships.
- The unexpected stress needs to be compensated for. The change and pressure of everything involved in transition can potentially cause stress at unprecedented levels. Watch for warning signs including mood and energy swings. Find intentional ways to relax and relieve stress during the transition. Be equally sensitive to the effects of stress on other family members making the transition with you regardless of their age. Change and transition greatly effects children and teenagers.
- You need to rediscover the small things. Rediscover the things that really matter. Look for the small victories and acknowledge them. Do random acts of kindness. Plan your work, work your plan, and celebrate accomplishments. Talk to those you love. Open up to and with those involved in the transition with you. Notice the new things: new smells, sights, views, people, and so forth.
- Cultivate your dependence upon God. You can try to do this on your own or with God. It always works out for the best when God is included in the process. Make time for prayer, meditation, and God’s Word. Anytime a snag happens and something isn’t going the way it needs to, try stopping and praying specifically about it. Don’t tell God how to do it, but be careful to praise Him as you watch Him make a way where there seemed to be no way.
- Take heed unto your self and those who are in transition with you. (1 Tim. 4:16). As you and those you love go through the upheavals and turmoil of change and transition, pay close attention to the most important thing and that is each other. Guard each other’s physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness. Be patient with and try to understand each other. Allow each other to have their “moments” and be patient and longsuffering when they do so.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Don’t overpressure yourself and others to make the impossible happen within an impossibly short amount of time. Pace the transition and allow things to happen in the proper order. This is a good time to learn to not sweat the small stuff. Don’t go overboard with perfectionism. Set goals, but don’t set every goal to excruciating standards. Learn to roll with it because transition can have its unstable and unexpected turns and twists.
- Regard your health. Watch for unexpected pains and changes in body functions. Be aware of things like shortness of breath and paleness. Use caution when lifting and practice safety as necessary. Don’t allow weariness to cause you to have a needless accident. Pay equal attention to other family members involved in the transition. Rest appropriately even if you have to make yourself do it. Guard each other’s health.
- Renew and revive. When the initial transition is over there will come a natural tendency to relax. You may feel totally drained and exhausted. It is vital that you take the time to renew and refresh. Find a way or an outlet to do this, and make sure it is not another exhausting experience. It is imperative that you renew and revive physically, emotionally, routinely, relationally, and spiritually.
By Dr. Fred Childs