I have lived in a ministry home my entire life. My parents were church planters and I have been married to my hottie-pastor-husband now for almost two years. One thing I have learned a lot about through living in a ministry home is transition. When I was five years old, my family picked up and moved from small-town southern Georgia to Castle Rock, Colorado where my parents planted a church. From the age of 5 to 22, I was a part of 7 different churches in 3 different states. As you all know, my husband and I are now located in Kopperl, Texas.
Transition is something we all go through at some point or another. Whether your transition is moving across the country or simply switching jobs, it requires adjustment. Sometimes transition can be an easy thing, you find yourself desiring change. Other times, it’s difficult and the new change leaves you confused and lonely. One of my favorite passages is Hebrew’s 11:8-10:
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV)
Abraham was the great patriarch of faith. It’s comforting to me that his first faithful action was transition! Abraham left a comfortable home to live in tents in a desert for years and years. Why? Because God said so. He simply obeyed.
Through my many transitions, I have held tight to these verses, constantly being reminded of Abraham’s attitude and eternal focus. Abraham was considered faithful because he willingly transitioned without hesitation.
So how can we transition faithfully and effectively? I’ve learned a few things throughout the years to help smooth the process. Here are the ABC’s of transition:
A – Accept it
Finish well, start strong. Many who transition find themselves sad to leave and afraid to embark on the new. For others, a change is welcomed. Regardless of your circumstance, refrain from a lazy exit or a sluggish start. When a transition is near, fulfill your role until the very end. God has had you in that place for specific amount of time for a reason. Once settled in your new “normal”, jump in with both feet. We all know transition takes time, but don’t hold on to an old place or nostalgia. Be present, engage and embrace your new role from start to finish. God knows best.
B – Be authentic
No matter how hard you try, you cannot be anyone but yourself. If you are moving locations, find a local church and figure out how God is calling you to serve and fulfill that role. If you are switching jobs, marital status, adding children to your family or any other type of transition, figure out what it is that God is calling you do in that specific role and do it to the best of your ability. Forget about the pressures to be someone else, the “perfect” wife or the “always-got-it-together” mom. Do everybody a favor (including yourself) by being your best “you.”
C- Cultivate contentment
Practice Kingdom focus to cultivate contentment. Sometimes we don’t love where God puts us or trials arise that leave us desiring a change. Sometimes we do feel like Abraham, a “stranger in a foreign land.” But God calls us to be content where we are. When we align our hearts with His, our focus shifts and we are suddenly able to see the “city with foundations, whose architect and building is God.”
By accepting where God is leading you, being authentic in your role and cultivating contentment, you will be successful in your new context. Let’s be like Abraham and “look forward” to the work God can do through us.