Change and healthy transitions

We welcome Jeanet Elisa with her first post on change and healthy transitions, something every believer needs to deal with. A truly inspirational message as we look ahead to 2024.

At one time or another, we are all exposed to change. Every day we experience or observe something changing around us. Change comes suddenly or over periods, but in every sphere of life, change is inevitable.

It’s a fact of life that as much as we would like them to be, not all changes are welcomed and not endings are happy. Whatever the door to change, without a good understanding of how to process the effects of change, we can find ourselves resisting it, holding onto what was, or suffocating new chapters in our future.

The Bible frames change as something that happens within the life spans of time. “There is a time and season for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to uproot.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

Change is both complex and personal. Every people manager knows this. That’s why companies spend immense amounts of money developing strategies for implementing effective change. Why – because change involves people and most people do not like change.

It is not uncommon knowledge that sudden change can shake us to the core. The loss of a job or a significant relationship, the failure of a leader, a child growing up and leaving the nest, or even a sickness that brings loss to life. Even when change has been well planned, the realities of experiencing it can create a de-vitalising void. That void is a hard place to be. This is why it is vital to understand change and the relational difference between change and transition. So, what’s the difference?

Change and healthy transitions unpacked

We have already looked at change. Let’s call change the external event. Transition is something very different. Transition follows the event but it’s not the event.

Transition is the internal process that you go through following change but it must be journeyed. Sounds simple but it isn’t always easy. The process people must go through, in order to to adapt to a new situation needs time.

Change can be sudden but transition needs time. Change can happen with or without your choice but transition requires your permission and acknowledgement of its need for time. Every process needs time and the need for time is a part of the transitional process.

I find it fascinating that the delivery stage of entry into life is called the ‘transition period.’ The baby is no longer in the womb, there is no way back, but it is not yet born. It has not taken its first breath or released its first sound. It is caught between two worlds as it finds itself passing through the void of letting go – in order – to embrace, and having to trust forces exterior to itself for safe passage into a new season of life.

Sadly, time is something we don’t give easily to the transition process that follows change because we don’t understand it? It’s often hard to think about what’s ahead when the noise of what’s just happened is ringing loudly, the comfort of certainty is gone and the shock factor has set in. Especially when a change has been surrounded by conflict, chaos, suffering, or loss.

The default of shock sends us spiralling into the safety nets of self-protection, avoidance, disconnection from reality, or just outright denial about how we feel. Surely, shock only happens in grief situations?

Nope – the fact is, we are wired for shock to enter other areas of sudden, unexpected, unwanted, or significant change and this is where the process of transition steps in. Therefore, transition is the normal, necessary, and natural human process that follows change.

It is the space between endings and beginnings. It is the neutral zone. We are no longer holding what was, but we have not yet taken possession of what lies ahead and as we are travel between what has transpired, adapt to it, and begin to move forward toward new beginnings, the doors to a new future can open.

Is that what you call a healthy transition? Yes. Within the timespans of a well-processed transition, we face the emotions of planned or unplanned change. We grieve loss, dispel anger, forgive those who have hurt us and acknowledge the pain it caused. We unpick negative pronouncements, unhinge debilitating thoughts, and cast off the restraints of disappointment.

You can’t move on until you let go! As we allow ourselves to journey toward finding joy in what was good, what we learned, how we grew, who we became, and all that we are now capable of, we start to leave past seasons behind. By daring to explore new ways of doing things or simply acknowledging that even though we have suffered a temporary setback or may not have chosen the circumstances surrounding our significant change, we can choose to make time our friend and start to dream again.

For more about change and healthy transitions watch this video.

Also read: Put your trust in God in these uncertain times for the UK

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