Life transitions have a crazy way of causing some emotional imbalance–for almost all of us! Transitions, even happy ones, can be stressful and bring up some surprising mixed emotions. These reactions can often time come as a surprise to us, causing us to feel especially sensitive for seemingly “no reason at all.” Moving to a new city, becoming a parent, selling the family home, transitioning from one job to another, marriage, or a personal loss can all create the opportunity for us to feel imbalanced for a while.
I graduated from my University, married, moved away from my family and friends to a new city, and became a mother within a 16 month period of time. Even though there was so much that was good and new –my equilibrium was off and I had to find a way to create a new normal for myself. It was an emotional time. My life since that time has had numerous changes and transitions. Each time it gets a little easier to understand how these transitions affects me and I work harder at being proactive during this time. I am going to pass a few of these tips on to you!
1. Transitions can shake your sense of IDENTITY. It’s natural for us to define ourselves by the job we have, church we attend, neighborhood we live in, family we belong to, or financial status we have known. When these kinds of elements get shaken up we have to find a new normal. During this particular time, be gracious with yourself and others, remain consistent to keep your spiritual/self-care routines in place, and surround yourself with life-giving people. These efforts will remind you that you are not defined by external titles or experiences.
2. A transition can be a wonderful opportunity for GROWTH. Sometimes transitions give us an opportunity to see areas of ourselves that need attention. Fear, lack of faith, uncertainty, even anger have roots in us somewhere. Being keenly aware of ourselves in this season we can take a good look at these responses and begin to take some steps to address and challenge ourselves to grow. Transitions are a great time to begin new habits.
3. Keep reminding yourself WHY you chose this transition. In my coaching I encourage my clients to assess their current situation and cast a clear vision for where they want to go. Though this kind of thinking can take take time and consideration; the greater challenge is in the in-between…actually applying the steps that will make the transition complete. Matthew Kelly in his book “Leading Through Change” says, “It is often said that people hate change, but that is not true. People love change; they just don’t like the time of transition.” If, during our transition we keep the end goal in sight, celebrate incremental changes along the way, and remind ourselves of the fruitfulness of our transition, we will navigate this time so much better. However, I have also walked through seasons where I didn’t choose the transition, wouldn’t have asked for it, and didn’t understand it’s value at the time. Yet, in hindsight I have learned to find the value even in those tough situations. I call those moments “looking for the pony in the poop”. There is always something to learn, nuggets of growth, even in un-chosen transition.
4. Remember your past transitions and apply some of the skills you learned during that time. No matter what our lives look like, we have all walked through transitions since we were children. There are ways that we have responded, lessons we have learned, and maturity gained that, if we reflect on those times, can even give us keen insight to our present transition. I love to journal for this reason in that it captures past responses in my life reminding me of tools and understanding gained during a previous transitional time.
5. Don’t leave God out of the equation. No one cares or knows us more than our heavenly Father. Draw close to him in these time. Sit still with Him; breath and wait. Trust that He will see you through.
Transitions can be invigorating, uncertain, challenging, even terrifying for some. Yet, we all face transitions. May you find great success in the days ahead as you apply some of these small principles for great success.