I recently picked up a book that I’ve had for a while, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, because of changes that we are going through as a family. As I read, I thought about all the changes we as a church family are going to be going through as Brian and Gabrielle move on to a new chapter in their lives.
Just to be honest, I don’t handle change well. I resist until, kicking and screaming, I give in to it. Some people are better able to go with the flow. We all handle it differently. I’d like to learn how to handle it better; thus the book, for some wisdom to help with the process.
The first thing I learned is that there is a difference between change and transition. Change is, for example, your move to a new city or your shift to a new job – the events that happen. Transition, on the other hand, is how we deal with those changes and incorporate them into our lives. Some might call it the grief process. All transitions are composed of (1) an ending, (2) a period of confusion and distress, leading to (3) a new beginning.
During an ending, the task is to acknowledge that the change has happened, facing the feelings of letting go of what has been familiar. Saying good-byes and reminiscing about the past and maybe crying a bit or a lot. Feeling lost and disoriented and wondering how everything will work out.
The period of confusion and distress allows us to reorient ourselves to the change. This is where the kicking and screaming can come in handy. We don’t have to like the change, but we do have to learn to cope with it, in our own time and in our own way. This is a time when we turn to God with questions of why and what’s next. The interim – what we need to do during the in-between time before we are ready for the new beginning – is important as a bridge from the old to the new.
My prayer for us as the Memorial Baptist church family is that we will be patient and grace-filled with each other as we deal with these changes and transitions, that we allow God to guide us to where He wants us to be, and that we come out stronger and more dependent on God in the process.