10 Tips for Handling Major Life Transitions

10 Tips for Handling Major Life Transitions

Transitions are a part of life. Nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes these transitions are expected, but often they catch us off guard. Though we know that the only constant in life is change, we’re often surprised by our need for adjustment. It may be our warped belief that life should go as we plan or that somehow we are in control. I have found major life transitions to be a time of uncertainty, vulnerability, and instability. Yet for each transition, I can see a transformation in me.

One of the major transitions in my life (and there have been many) was relocating from the East coast to the West Coast. Initially, I viewed it as a big adventure, but as the reality of this move sunk in, it didn’t feel very adventurous. Those were anxiety-ridden days where I questioned God and myself.

In my anxiety, I leaned into God’s Word, and learned it provides life-giving guidance on handling transitions, both large and small.

If you are in a season of transition, I encourage you to spend time in Scripture and in prayer, asking God to help you make sense of the change, and navigate your next steps. To get you started, here are 10 tips from Scripture for handling major life transitions.

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  • 1. Expect Change (John 16:33)

    1. Expect Change (John 16:33)

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    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    Transitions typically involve trials or distress. When I moved, one of the first things I had to do was get my daughters enrolled in school, which seemed daunting at the time. I had to ensure their immunizations were current. Without a pediatrician, I didn’t know my next move. Miraculously, I learned about a school nurse at an offsite location who had no problem administering their immunizations.

    It was one of those times where I realized that change did not have to bring out the worse in me, for God was with me, and He promised to be with me as I overcame each challenge that was part of moving. Transitions are a part of life. Nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes these transitions are expected, but often they catch us off guard. If you are in a season of transition, I encourage you to spend time in Scripture and in prayer, asking God to help you make sense of the change, and navigate your next steps. To get you started, here are 10 tips from Scripture for handling major life transitions.

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  • 2. Be Anxious for Nothing (Philippians 4:6-7)

    2. Be Anxious for Nothing (Philippians 4:6-7)

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    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

    At times when I have been anxious I have felt that this verse was mocking me. I was apprehensive as I searched for childcare, employment, doctors. But I learned that anxiety was not there to help me; it only tripped me up.

    When Scripture says “be anxious about nothing,” that included my big cross-country move. So daily, as I faced challenge after challenge in getting settled, I chose to start with peace instead of anxiety.

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  • 3. "Seek Me First" (Matthew 6:33)

    3. "Seek Me First" (Matthew 6:33)

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    “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

    This move was well thought-out. We prayed about it, and circumstances fell into place that indicated we should follow through. But there were still moments when we held our breaths or shook our heads as we tried to figure out the next steps. It was in those moments that we learned the truth of seeking Him first.

    It almost seemed like where we lived was irrelevant; furniture was not the priority or any of the other things that took up our time. What mattered most was giving Him first place in our lives. We needed to release our control so He could direct our paths, and He did. As I focused on the essential things – not taking life for granted and being grateful – I could shift my perspective to handle life’s transitions.

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  • 4. Seek Wise Counsel (Proverbs 19:20)

    4. Seek Wise Counsel (Proverbs 19:20)

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    “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)

    Once we knew we were moving, we went into research mode, or what I like to call, seeking wise counsel. We questioned our realtor for insights into selling a house. If we knew anyone on the west coast, we reached out to them and sought answers to our questions. My husband asked co-workers to scout out various neighborhoods. We looked at Biblical characters who moved at God’s instruction. We spent a lot of time studying Abraham to see if there were any similarities to our situation. Our current church family prayed and supported us in many ways reinforcing that “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Wise counsel gave us Godly confidence.

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  • 5. Realize There Is a Time for Everything (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

    5. Realize There Is a Time for Everything (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

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    “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

    I had a particular image in my head of what moving would entail. I pictured my new neighborhood with new friends. I anticipated that my children’s schools would be like what we left behind. I figured that finding a church would be a piece of cake and once I found a church, everything else would fall into place. None of these things happened within the timeframe I anticipated.

    I met one neighbor initially, and everyone else kept to themselves. The public-school system on the west coast was much larger, and the demographic makeup of the student body was a different flavor of diversity, compounding the time it took to feel comfortable. It took quite a while – almost five years, to find a church that would become our church home.

    I did not foresee the timing of these events. However, I have seen that He made everything beautiful at just the right time.

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  • 6. Remain Hopeful (Psalms 30:5)

    6. Remain Hopeful (Psalms 30:5)

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    “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)

    During this transition, there were times of overwhelming loneliness. I knew my children felt lonely too as they struggled to make new friends at school. I could tackle the physical aspects of moving – unpacking boxes, setting up rooms, buying furniture, but my emotions were something else. Somedays I wanted to cry, and I did.

    The one thing that kept me going was the hope promised in God’s word. Hope that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I held on to the hope that joy would come. And Joy came.

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  • 7. Know His Plans Supersede Yours (Jeremiah 29:11)

    7. Know His Plans Supersede Yours (Jeremiah 29:11)

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    “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

    Again, when it seemed like things were falling apart, or I was falling apart, I fell into His loving arms. I trusted his plans over mine. I stopped trying to control every situation and outcome. If my children were upset because of the move, I let them feel upset. I shared with them how I felt so that it would encourage them. This was difficult, yet freeing, for I was beginning to see his hand in everything I did. I wasn’t in control, and I was OK with that.

  • 8. Be Courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)

    8. Be Courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)

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    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

    “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)

    One month after we moved, it seemed as if the bottom was falling out. The company my husband relocated with was bought out by another. Typically, when this happens, there is job loss. I remember my husband calling me that day to give me a heads up. It was in that same moment that the Lord imprinted on me that He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.

    Though it seemed uncertain for a time, I knew that if this didn’t work out the way we anticipated, He was working something out for us. We determined to be courageous and trust that this move was not for naught. I knew that I could rely on his strength, wisdom, and courage to navigate this transition. 

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  • 9. Know You’re Not Alone (Psalms 46:1-2)

    9. Know You’re Not Alone (Psalms 46:1-2)

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    “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

    Often during this time, I turned to God’s word for comfort. Inevitably, I would find myself in the psalms with my image reflected in its pages. When the Psalmist said, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear…” it reassured me that I was not alone, and fear could take a back seat. This constant reminder was present as I navigated this transition.

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  • 10. Renew Your Strength (Isaiah 40:31)

    10. Renew Your Strength (Isaiah 40:31)

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    “[B]ut those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

    I started jogging more once I moved. The weather was beautiful all year round, but more importantly, jogging became my time of communing with God. It was when my thoughts took on the rhythm of my run that I poured my heart out to him. It wasn’t all sorrow, for this communion produced a peace that I wouldn’t trade for anything. As I breathed, I became more grateful for life, and with each step, I knew He was with me. I truly learned what it meant to have my strength renewed as I waited on Him.

    Transitions are an opportune time for transformation. Trust God through the transition and allow him to change you for the better as your circumstances change.

    nylse-headshotNylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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