But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:21-23
Last week my daughter and I combined households and moved into a house together. I have moved multiple times. I’ve moved from Detroit to Houston and back to Detroit, then to Dallas for Perkins School of Theology. From there I moved to Nashville to work as an editor at the United Methodist Publishing House. After living in Nashville for over twenty interesting years, I moved to Philadelphia.
Now I’m back in Houston and had managed to remain in one apartment for four years. Ahh, stability. But things change. Because I care for my granddaughter, it was easier for all of us to live under one roof. So once again—the move. I’m learning to adjust to the new, even as I recover from the loss of the old. That is what it feels like to be in transition.
It often feels as if I am continuously in transition. Actually, I am. And so are you. If, like me, you live a nomadic lifestyle because of personality or purpose, you will face transitions. Even if you remain in one community—one home—and continue to attend the church your family has attended for generations, you will still face transitions. Things change.
Living in transition can be a gift because it gives us time to prepare for the new way of living that is coming. Transitions are the in-between: in-between the well-loved house and the radically different apartment dwelling, in-between the diagnosis and the decision about treatment, in-between the divorce and the recognition of life as a single person, in-between retirement and the beginning of “the third chapter.”
I have learned —am learning—that transitions give me a chance to do three things: (1) pray and reflect, (2) think and plan, and (3) act with intention.
Pray and Reflect
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV
My journal has been my constant companion almost daily for several decades. It and my Bible feed and nourish me as I have moved from one place to another. It is in my journal that I hear God in the silence. Listening and reflecting are disciplines that are vital for peace while in transition.
Think and Plan
. . . The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building. . .” —Nehemiah 2:20
Planning is actually second nature to me and helps me feel there is something I can control when life is uncertain. Many of us know the anxiety of being in transition whether it’s having to return home to live with parents after college, realizing that our parent now needs assisted living because of a dementia diagnosis, or even the joy of moving from dating to engagement to marriage. Use your time of transition to plan. Talk to others in a similar situation, gather bunches of information, and then explore your options. Trust that everything on your checklist matters to God, and then trust God for the outcome.
Act with Intention
I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.— Joshua 1:9
After praying, reflecting, and planning, I feel comfortable and confident to take action. I may still be anxious or even afraid, but I also feel prepared. I feel undergirded by the Spirit of God and surrounded by the support of people in my life. I can make an intentional decision to take the next step out of my in-between state to my new normal—until change leads me to the next process of transition.
- The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50
- Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life
- Our move coming in under budget.
- Making space by donating some stuff!
- In our new home we now have a place for everything!