A few years ago, what started as a brief conversation in a church bookstore between me and two church members turned into an encouraging discussion and prayer about how to handle the transition. We each shared how the transitions that we were going through stirred up so many expected and unexpected emotions like relief, confidence, joy, fear, guilt, and anxiety.
At the end of our prayer, we agreed that even though our transitions were different, we had to learn how to do the same thing: Trust God in the transition. Because it’s human nature to fight change (and the one who allows change to happen), sometimes we end up fighting God and his plan for our lives. By the end of that week, I’d had similar conversations with at least three other friends about dealing with similar transitions. The one thing that connected each of these conversations was the fact that the true nature of the person came out during the transition. The optimist stayed hopeful during the transition and the negative person became more negative during the transition.
It’s been said that money or the lack of money often brings out the “true” you.
Transitions do the same thing. For example, those of us who are fearful before a transition is just as fearful (if not more fearful) afterward. Some of us get stuck halfway through the transition and want to go back to where we started. We may even try to mask that fear by trying to control every aspect of the change.
One thing I’ve had to learn as I’ve dealt with various transitions in my life is to not ask God “why?” - “ Why me Lord?” Instead, ask God “how?” - How do I continue to praise you through this? How do I continue to trust you? How do I stay encouraged? How much more strength will I need?
Romans 8:28 is a familiar passage of scripture that reminds us that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It’s 10 verses later in verses 38-39 that we find out why: ” For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No matter what the transition, we will always be loved by God. It’s just that simple.
Sometimes we think that the hardest part of a transition is just accepting the change itself. I also think the hard part might be trusting God as we continue through the transition. Some of us start off looking forward to changing, but when it gets too hard, we change our minds. Like Peter who wavered when walking on the water in Matthew 14:22-31, we lose faith and focus on the circumstances that surround us. God allows transitions because he wants to build our character and increase our faith.
Shewanda Riley is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.