Embracing Life’s Transitions

January 17, 2016

inauguration

By Matt Morrison
Content Editor

On Friday, our nation will live out one of its most significant traditions – the inauguration of the President of the United States.  This peaceful transition of power from one leader to the next is awe-inspiring.  For over 200 years now, we’ve watched a new president take power, or the existing one renew his, every fourth January 20 at exactly noon eastern time.

But getting from Election Day in November to the new administration in January is often a messy process.  The existing president begins to fade from the spotlight and looks ahead to life outside the White House while the incoming president fills thousands of government positions in just a little over 60 days.

As this particular inauguration arrives, it comes in the midst of some major transitions in my own life.  On Friday, I also turn 30 years old.  In the next year, my son will go into Kindergarten and we’ll welcome our second child into the world.  I find myself saying goodbye to the most eventful/exciting/tumultuous decade of my life while embracing an entirely new season.

Transitions of any kind come with as much tension and fear as they do excitement.  Just as our nation ponders what the next four years will bring under a new administration, personal transitions bring more questions than answers in their wake.  It’s often difficult to press forward into something new when the old is so comfortable and the path forward remains unclear.

In spite of this, we have to fight the temptation to put life on pause as we enter these new seasons.  In U.S. politics, the outgoing Congress and President are often called “lame ducks.”  While they still hold power, they’re limited in what they can still accomplish.  They’re authority is immediately diminished yet they’re often expected just to keep their seats warm for the next politicians who will fill them.

In our personal lives, it’s important to resist this urge to pull back, invest less of ourselves in our work, and live for ourselves until the questions about our future are answered.  In particular, there are three things we must continue doing so we don’t waste these important pivot points in life:

1. STAY INVOLVED.

Whether transitioning from college to career or singleness to marriage, I often find friends begin pulling back from their areas of responsibility and leadership.  They get less involved in relationships, pull out of their local churches, and stop actively looking for places to serve.  It’s as if they’re waiting for the transition to end before they’re willing to do anything else.

Stay involved in your current responsibilities.  Don’t wait for all of life’s questions to be answered before you take the next steps.  Don’t let uncertainty and indecision paralyze you.  Follow through on your commitments, continue pouring into others, and be intentionally missional in all of your relationships and opportunities.  It’s easy to become self-absorbed in transition.  Fight this at all cost.

2. REMEMBER THIS PHRASE: “FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS…”

In Esther 4:14, the queen’s cousin reminds her of this very thing.  In a political season where the Jews face imminent danger from their King and his advisors, Esther is the most powerful woman in the Kingdom with unique influence on the King.  Standing up for her people could mean risking her position or even her life.  Yet, he reminds her,

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

While he has faith God will protect the Jews with or without her obedience, he recognizes that her rise to power could easily be the catalyst to rescue for a vulnerable and persecuted people.  This woman, who never asked for fame or fortune, is in the unique position to leverage everything to save them.

Could God be instigating this transition for such a time as this?  Could this period of doubt and question be the moment for which you were born?  What might God be doing to draw people to himself through your faithfulness in this season?

3. LEAN INTO IT.

As millennials, we’re notoriously commitophobic.  Before you get through this transition, you’ll have to make decisions without the assurance of how they’ll all turn out.  And when the old still seems more comfortable and familiar than the new, it’s easy to pull back and doubt the entire ordeal.

If you feel God calling you into something new, whether it’s a relationship, career change, moving to a new city, or something else entirely, don’t doubt his calling or his sovereignty.  Keep moving forward until the season is complete.

Transition produces growth and maturity.  It gets you ready for the next stage of adulthood.  If you find yourself in one of these seasons, keep your eye on the God who called you into it and expect great things from him on the other side.

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