Goodbye and Hello: Navigating Change & Transitions in Life
Updated: May 6
With all the posts about end-of-summer memories and students going back to school it is evident that change and transition is in the air.
Even nature will be following suit soon as leaves will literally be changing in many parts of the country - a visual gift that can reflect back to us some of our own internal realities.
Whether you are headed for change, in the midst of change, or recovering from change, one thing we know is that change is guaranteed in life. And, it is necessary for our growth. As the meme goes:
“There is no growth without change.
There is no change without loss.
There is no loss without pain.”
This quote reminds us that in the midst of change there are formational opportunities. One of them being that change offers our hearts the invitation to travel through transition.
In other words, while change is the catalyst for transition, transition is the process our hearts can go through to help us embrace the change.
Generally speaking, the process of transition can be described as a combination of three different phases:
Phase I: Ending & Letting Go
Can feel disorienting, sad and involve a keen sense of the loss or absence
Phase II: In Between or Neutral Zone
Can feel empty/quiet; not sure what to do or what to attach to
*The temptation in this stage is to attach to something pre-maturely to help us feel like we have “moved on”.
Phase III: New Beginning
Curiosity, clarity, and energy around our new purpose and what is ahead
As I have been reflecting on these stages again recently, I have been reminded that my heart has gone through the baton pass of these phases several times over the last couple of years.
And when change is at my doorstep and the opportunity to process it is knocking at my door, I have found the following to be helpful reminders to orient myself around.
Remember that transition takes:
Because loss is always a part of change, we need experiences (people, movies, songs, books) that help validate our loss and sadness. Receiving validation helps our hearts be open to shifting to Phases II and III.
Giving our hearts permission to travel from an ending to a new beginning takes time. The kind of time you can’t estimate, calculate or forecast.
Because transition oftentimes involves a future unseen picture, trusting the process, tending to anxiety when it pops us, and trusting God in the midst of the uncertainty is paramount.
So, what change and/or transition are you going through right now and what of the above three do you need most in this season?
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find GOD right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” (Psalm 34:18 NIV/Message)