Are You in Transition

Are you finding yourself at a crossroads with new things to learn, let go of, or adapt to a new life terrain that looks different from your usual familiar road? Well, you must be in a state of transition. 

I attended a Grief Recovery Class after my Mother passed away a few years ago. It was populated with people at various stages of grief and loss. I learned that there are more than forty types of loss we process as we trek through life. Honestly, I never considered some of these actual losses but maybe that is why I never processed the grief from them. They ranged from the death of a loved one to accept new health challenges, job changes, a child with a disability, losing a home, divorce or retirement. The ever-changing deck of cards life deals us is a new hand to play whether we are prepared to enter the game or not. We must ante up and take our seat at the table.

Transition could easily be a euphemism for having experienced a loss. Life is filled with necessary losses and transitions of various kinds. To successfully maneuver through these peaks and valleys in life we must be able to adapt to the new terrain. How do we do this? Here are a 3 Steps that may help you to begin processing the change:

  1. Processing your Anger/Disappointment/Frustration

After you have chosen to not deny the reality of this change it’s natural and healthy to get angry at what you thought was going to happen and what actually happened. It’s important to be angry but sin not. Ephesians 4:26 We don’t want to harm ourselves or others as we process our righteous indignation about an unjust situation. Journaling or talking with a trustworthy friend who can handle your emotions to process this pain is helpful to get through this stage. Facing disappointment and uncertainty will require wisdom from others who are objective and removed from the situation. This is an important step to go through so you don’t go back and negotiate that it really wasn’t that bad.  Crossing the desert of pain will make reaching the fruitful plain all the sweeter.

2. Be aware of your internal dialogue.

Listening to your own mental conversations are important to bring you back to a realistic perspective of what is going on in your life. Too often we allow negative, discouraging conversations to continue in our minds about false narratives that don’t benefit our situation. When things don’t go as expected we can start to blame others, ourselves or God for not doing what we had hoped. This is a way of taking control over what we truly have no control over.

3. Acceptance.

We must accept our circumstances in order to deal with the ramifications. By embracing the full force of change we can begin to sort through our options. Minimizing the pain or rationalizing it away will only make it harder to accept what has really happened. Loss is a part of our journey in life and can prepare you for the next part of your journey. New life can be birthed from tragedy and disappointment. A famous prayer used at 12-Step Recovery Programs is very helpful in difficult transitions. It goes as follows:

“God, grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.” Embracing this new reality can be the foundation for greater opportunities to find intimate connection with others and fulfillment in a supportive community.

After carefully navigating your way through these uncharted waters of grief and transition you will be unburdened from the trappings of unprocessed grief. This is an acquired skill that will repeat itself at various stages of life. Being willing to embrace the transition is a sign of maturity and will make you more resilient to the winds of change.

The Proverbs 31 woman says she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:25-26.  This sounds like a woman who has experienced many changes in her life and laughs at the future because she is not afraid of it. She is mature, hopeful and resilient. You too can smile wide at the future, whatever it brings because of the one you place your trust in. Having faced difficult transitions will be an asset to you as you press forward and accept whatever the future brings. You are empowered to be more than a conqueror through Him who has loved you. Romans 8:37

Rarely, can someone successfully take on this transitional journey by themselves. Stepping into our transitions, losses and unmet expectations is not an easy process. It will require courage, empowerment and a healthy dose of self-respect. Working through guttural grief is not for the light of heart. This is where a trained Professional Life Coach can help you sort through all the parts of the issues and point you to where you want to end up at the final stage of a major life transition. You can finish stronger, more determined and clearer about your future with the right person to walk this road with you.