This post has been in my head for at least the past six months. I wanted to write it from the point of view of someone who had transitioned well. From someone who had no trouble at all with change, who mastered the art of transitioning to every single thing new at once with great poise and composure.
The truth is, I’ve been “in transition” for six months now, and only recently have things felt “normal.” What even is normal? Why is the status quo what I’m always chasing?
When I graduated college, I had no idea what I was in for. Those last few weeks were spent checking things off the senior year bucket list, getting some major quality time in with the best friends, and excitedly yammering on about where we were all headed. We had no idea. We could not wait to get out, and the challenges to come were too far off to be real. What had we to fear, after all? Twenty-two knows no mountains too high.
Unfortunately, the transition was a slap in the face. Not terrible, but not finding a job right off the bat is discouraging to any college grad. Eventually, I found friends. I found a church. I found a job (after a while).
Then I moved again. And again.
So here’s what I’ve figured out: transitions are always harder than predicted.
So why can’t I ever see that coming? Why does the loneliness hit harder with every new city? Why do I fight perfectionism in every new job? Why do I compare incessantly when I know the comparison steals the joy? Why do I run from my weaknesses instead of following Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 12? Why do I keep thinking contentment is so elusive? Why do I wait so long to let myself be known in a new place? Why is it so hard to commit to a new church? Why do I hate the waiting?
(By the way, I’ve talked to lots of people of all ages on this. I tend to think transitions in “this stage of life” are the hardest, and I say things like, “I can’t wait to get out of this transitional phase!” As it turns out, every single stage is full of transitions. Getting married? Check. Having kids? Check. Moving again? Check. The kids get older? Check. The parents get older? Check.)
But then maybe I’m the only one. I have a hard time grasping grace, because I just want to do it myself. I want to fix it all. I want everything to stop being broken and hard and just… Sometimes I have to stop and then it brings me back to my need for a Savior.
Paul boasted in his weaknesses in his letter to the Corinthians. He said his weaknesses and difficulties brought him joy, because it magnified the cross of Christ. Ann Voskamp wrote a post this week aimed at moms, but her words bring wisdom to all of us:
That maybe it all comes down to this:
My kids don’t need to see a Super Mama.
They need to see a Mama who needs a Super God.
So, that’s not exactly what most people want to hear when they enter into a transition. Transition=weakness, difficulty, hardship. Awesome.
Most changes are met with great anticipation, and it’s true that great things come. We ought not just stay where we are for the sake of staying and safety and things known. Abundant life is full of great risks and great rewards.
We ought to face these changes with fear, but rather with courage. Those dreams and aspirations of changing the world don’t come without a bit of effort and discomfort. It’s just part of the territory.
Transitions are not simple. Don’t let anyone make you think it is. It may not even always be safe. But following a gracious, in-control, perfect, mighty, all-powerful Father who created the whole universe? Good. Following Him is always, always, always good.
Paul says the secret to contentment is Christ. (Philippians 4:12) He’s right. He’s also right when he says in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above. I’d argue for the ability to recognize and acknowledge those gifts from above helped Paul cultivate that contentment he found in Christ alone. Later Paul says, “follow me, as I follow Christ.”
In the meantime? Find the tiniest things that bring life. (said better here) Rejoice in the simplest gifts of grace. Those small ones usually magnify the Great One.