Saturday, August 2, 2014

Transition: Connecting Dots

Transitions..." the natural process of disorientation and reorientation that marks the turning points of the path of growth.  Throughout nature, growth involves periodic accelerations and transformation: things go slowly for a time and nothings seems to change--until suddenly the eggshell cracks, the branch blossoms, the tadpole's tail shrinks away, the leaf falls, the bird molts, the hibernation begins." (Transitions, William Bridges)

I'm re-reading this classic book on transitions, a rare and unique work.  I highly recommend it, if you want to understand the internal dynamics of transition, not just the how-to of navigating externals.  I'll throw a few more of its nuggets in future posts on this thread, but first--back to the exercises!

Did you all do your homework?  If not, back up to the previous post and catch up!  If so, let's press on.  If you don't believe in the Triune God of orthodox Christianity, you may want to skip this post entirely, or adapt it somehow to your belief system.  If you do, let me know!  I'd be curious to see what you came up with.

For this next step, you will need to list names of God that you know.  If you don't know any names, look here for some ideas, and jot down your favorites.

Now connect the dots with your previous list: what names of God correspond to the emotions you are feeling, or the words you associate with transition?  What do you think God wants to reveal about himself to you in this transition?

For example, words in my first list were:

  •     bracing (for it)
  •     chaos
  •     complexity
  •     joy/excitement
  •     unknowns
  •     work
Names of God our group came up with included:

  •     Creator
  •     Father
  •     Initiator
  •     Provider
  •     Shepherd
  •     Faithful One
  •     Judge
  •     Way
  •     Truth
  •     Life
  •     Counselor
  •     Wisdom
  •     Shield
Connecting the Dots: as I connected my emotions/thoughts with these names, I came up with:

Bracing for it  = Initiator.  God initiated this transition, so he will bring it to completion.   I also got a sense of God's joy and excitement about what he's up to in initiating this transitional period.  I decided to focus on my own joy and excitement as a shared emotional state that I am enjoying with him in this transition, in spite of the chaos, confusion and unknowns.  He will fulfill his purposes in it, and I will receive gifts along the way, and at the end.  Not without pain, but no pain, no gain, right?!

Chaos = God brings order out of chaos.  He
is a God of order, not confusion.  
Complexity = Wisdom, Counselor,
who understands all the issues and is able to shepherd me through them.

Bottom line: I relaxed.  God let me know "I've got this!"

Coming into the debrief/retreat time in Colorado, I didn't know how I was going to sustain two years of transition on so many levels I barely knew where to begin.  Did I have it in me--emotionally, physically, spiritually, psychologically?

Leaving, I had two pillars of hope on which to continue the journey:

. focus on the end goal; and there will be gifts along the way, of all kinds;
. my primary goal of obedience as a disciple outweighs inconvenience, unknowing, doubts, financial tests, housing mysteries, geographical changes, family complexities, and vocational shifts.  I do like simplification! I will walk this road of transition, and not shrink back into my clamshell where it's safe and cozy. 

As the psalmist says, "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

Simple.  Keeping on keeping on. 
One foot in front of the other.   
See you next time!  Let me know how you've connected some dots! 


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