Originally published Monday, 22 September 2014.
In life, we experience seasons of all kinds. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."
Sometimes new seasons are welcome, and other times they are dreaded. It also depends on whether or not you see the new season coming (see: blindside). Maybe you lose your job unexpectedly. Maybe a health crisis. Maybe financial difficulties.
The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
I want to encourage those of us -- including myself -- who are experiencing transition.
Whether your transition is related to relationships, health, finances, or job change--here are 10 tips for moving forward.
1. Walk a Straight Path. King Solomon wrote, "Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." This can be tricky when you're not sure WHICH path to take--let alone walk in a straight line. These verses are the key to finishing strong!
2. Be Bold and Courageous. Easier said than done, right? The Lord had told the Israelites many times to be bold and courageous, however--Joshua and Caleb were the only two men who brought back a good report about the giants in the Promised Land. Every time God asks us (or forces us) to transition, it's easy to only see the giants instead of plunder and new blessings. Or in Peter's case to only look at the waves. If Jesus calls you to walk on water then HE WILL PROVIDE.
3. Surround Yourself With Family. It's important to keep those family and friends closest who are the most encouraging. I know what it's like to want to blab and complain to anyone who will listen. But, in times of transition, God wants to quiet your heart. Keep in mind that the more voices you ask/listen to--the more confused you will be about which path to take.
4. Rediscover Your Purpose. This is my favorite step. When God transitions us into a new season, it's often because He wants to bless us with a new purpose. Maybe you're single and you're waiting on a spouse. Maybe you're married and you're looking forward to having children. Maybe you're at a dead end job looking for your dream job. David wrote in Psalm 37:4, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
5. It's Okay to Have Unfulfilled Longings. I am confident God allows our desires to go unmet for many reasons, one of which is because He wants to be the one to satisfy our deepest desires and longings. It's also what drive us. It's okay to be single, married without children, or working in a dead end job. It's okay to desire more, and it's also okay to be IN transition. I keep telling myself that, which is why I wrote the next tip about speaking truth.
6. Speak Truth Over Circumstances. I didn't used to believe I had a problem with speaking truth until God convicted me. It's easy to say bad things about yourself when you're not paying attention. Once I started making a mental note of the things that actually came out of my mouth--I was flabbergasted how many times I kept putting myself down. "I'm not good enough" "Pretty enough" "Skinny enough" "Smart enough" "Worthy enough". It's time to stop the emotional smack talk and start speaking truth over your life and over your circumstances. Jesus said it in John 8:31, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
7. It's Not All About You. Maybe God has you going through what you're going through so you can encourage others. This tip, I feel is the hardest. When you're unsure of your life, where you're going, and feeling overwhelmed to figure (or fix) it--the last thing you want to do is focus on others. Let today be the day you focus on others instead of yourself. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
8. Manage Finances Well. Another key to finishing strong is to manage your finances. You never know when you might change or lose your job. It's important to pay your bills on time and pay off your debts so you can go the distance (like taking time off to figure out where to go next or going into ministry without debt)! If you are currently struggling under the weight or pressure of finances, I hope you will be encouraged to hear that Paul wrote in Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"
9. You Can Trust God. Newsflash, you can actually trust God with your life. This tip is meant to help you establish intimacy with God and to stay mindful through a rough transition. Often times, the most blessed times of my life have been during trials because it forced me to draw nearer to the Father heart of God. I wonder if the same is true for you?
10. God Will Bless You (in His Timing). Looking back on the past five years while on Lexapro, I am still in shock that God blessed me with five books. God loves to give us an amazing inheritance when we feel like we least deserve it (see: prodigal son) because God loves getting ALL the glory. David also testifies to this tip. He wrote in Psalm 23:4-6, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
My advice is to intentionally remain where you are until God shows you an open door (no matter how difficult that may be). Be encouraged that God is right there with you, and remember each encounter with Him is another opportunity to serve others.
Question: Which area(s) do you currently struggle with moving forward?