You could very easily live devastated with no expectation of good in life. Two people go through similar experiences of pain. One person says, “It was never supposed to be like this, and I will never get over this.” The other says, “This was never supposed to happen to me, but I am healing and moving forward the best I can even though I may not know how.” Here’s what I have learned. They will both prove themselves right.
Navigating change is one of the more difficult things you will face in life. If you want to thrive, then navigating change well is not an option for your life. It is a necessity. I know a lot of people who find themselves thrown off track by transition, and have a hard time moving forward again. They begin to doubt themselves, and wonder if they have what it takes to move forward well in life. Sometimes, they become so fearful of change they miss they are changing into a person they never wanted to be. Change is always happening. How will you respond to change?
I believe God set change into the fabric of the universe, and it is the one constant. No day like the one before. No moment as it once was. Life is always moving forward. We don't get to choose that things change, but we always get to choose how we will go through change. Here are five things I've found to be key when I'm making big changes in life.
1. Navigate Change with Honesty. When you’re in transition, it is paramount that you are honest about where you are in transition. While this is important in all areas of life, if you gloss over the realities you are currently facing during a transition, you will most likely suffer the consequences of this later.Navigating change effectively requires difficult work. If you don’t do the difficult work now, you will have to face a lot more of it later. When you’re in transition, the change stirs up things inside of you. Take time to admit what is being stirred up inside of you. Some things in your heart you might rather not acknowledge we’ll be pressed on. Some of these may be wonderful moments you cherish, or they could be emotional wounds that haven’t been redeemed and are infected. It may be sad memories, fearful tendencies, or bitter feelings. Go ahead and recognize those. You cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge. Transition is an excellent time to work things out with a journal, and a counselor can help you navigate these areas as well.
2. Navigate Change with Thanksgiving. Gratitude changes the climate of your own life. When you are thankful, it reminds you of the good things in your life. Transitioning with thanksgiving reminds you of what you have come through, and even acknowledges that good things come about in time from change. Does this mean that everything is something you’re thankful for? No. You don’t have to be thankful for all things, but there is something sweet about being thankful in all things. Throughout the challenges, may gratitude lead you forward. A grateful heart is a heart that can both give and receive, which is crucial during transition.
3. Navigate Change with Prayer. I can’t overstate the importance of praying through transition. Prayer is wonderful. Prayer is often abrupt, and it doesn’t need to be planned. However, writing your prayers down during a transition can be very powerful, because you can look back and see how God worked through your transition. When you face a big change in the future, you can remind yourself of how God has been faithful in the past. It is also important to remember that the Holy Spirit guides us into the goodness of God, and when we pray, we are inviting God to guide us. One of the things my Grandma says about prayer is this. “God will change the situation, God will change the other person, or God will change me.” I often find that the one being changed most through prayer is me, and I believe that is because prayer is connection with God. The more time we intentionally connecting with the Lord, the more time that God will shape us through and in our prayers.
4. Navigate Change with Guidance. Don’t try to walk through transition alone. It is important to have some friends around you who will encourage you, and some mentors who can guide you through these times. I remember some very special conversations with six of my mentors in Tulsa when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. They were both a comfort, and an encouragement to me. I see so many people trying to walk through their difficult alone. I hope you transition with some people who you can trust. By the way, if you’re not in a difficult transition, go ahead and find some mentors now. Their voices will be a blessing to you now, and when the days of change come, they can help you navigate through those moments better than you would on your own.
5. Navigate Change with Hope. When you are in transition, it is crucial to make the change with a big picture of hope in the future. When we go through difficult changes without a sense of hope, we will often do everything we can to avoid, numb, and pretend the transition isn’t happening. Real hope is one of the most powerful agents for moving through transition well. The sun will rise again, and good will come again. You are not alone, and your best days are not behind you. The best is yet to come. Don’t give up in the transition because you can’t see what’s before you. There is hope.
What would it look like if you went into transition with honesty, thanksgiving, prayer, guidance, and hope? How would you respond if you saw these as paramount to making changes in a healthy way. Imagine what you might gain from making these decisions in your transition.
Questions: Which one of these five choices is most difficult for you to do in transition? What is one specific way you could choose to incorporate that choice in the changes of life?
Over the past few months, I’ve been writing about grief a lot. I’m not quite sure what the writings will become, but I wanted to share an excerpt with you. 2018 has been an incredibly painful year for a lot of people I know. I’ll throw my hat into that ring as well. Yes, there has been good this year. I experienced some of the sweetest moments of my life this year, and some of the richest experiences with God I have yet. This has also been a year in which I have been connected to more loss, grief, death, and sadness than other years.
I'm sitting in a room with about 50 people I don’t know. The people range in age from early 20s to late 60s. I think there were a few millionaires, and there were a few people who were bankrupt. Everyone was there because we had some unsolved issues that are taking us down paths we don’t want to walk any longer. But for some reason, we keep walking down those same paths again and again. Our guide on this weekend asks a question.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by how much stuff you have? When you’ve been living in one place for a while, you may not notice how much stuff you have. That's what happened to me, as I lived in Tulsa for 7 years. Then one day, you realize you have no more space to store anything. So where does all the stuff go? What happens when you have too much stuff?
Sowing and Reaping are eternal principles: You reap what you sow. This is something I read in Scripture, but it goes beyond that. This applies in every sphere of our lives. Here are three principles I have found true.
I don't like feeling or appearing weak. I like to be strong. Over the past four months, God has been working on some specific things in my life. One of the things God has been working on the most with me is becoming more comfortable with being myself in the highs and lows of life. Everyone has high points and low points. My challenge was letting myself feel okay with expressing where I'm at with people.
I believe most of us like to learn, grow, and become better than we were yesterday. The problem some people run into is that they don't know where to start. When we don't know where to begin, things become muddy, and we can quickly get stuck. Teachability is an area that almost everyone can grow in, but few strive after it. Remember, learning now is a great investment for your future. Here are my twelve keys to becoming more teachable.
One of the most important characteristics of a leader is teachability. If you don't learn, you won't get better. Without meaning to go in this direction, we can quickly be sideswiped by the ever-present EGO. Your pride can limit your learning. If you want to grow, the best way to do this is to posture yourself to being teachable. However, you may not be convinced. Today, I want to encourage you with 7 reasons you should be teachable.