Fall transitions into Winter, Spring turns to Summer, and the flowers, thistles, and chill of each season fleet away…
…And it’s the same with life. Each of us journey through multiple seasons, some of which are harder than others. But it’s not the seasons I want to talk about right now.
It’s the time in between. Because, just like those I-can’t-tell-if-this-is-Fall-or-Summer days, life changes are uncertain. And while the promise of a brand new season can be thrilling, uncertainty is dreadful.
So, here are a few things to remember when tough transitions hit…
1) Let yourself feel what you need to.
Change is scary and exciting, so it’s normal to be unsure of your feelings. And it’s okay to be confused! Explore every emotion that comes about, and work through it with God’s help. Especially if it hurts.
For months before we moved, I stuffed my emotions down so hard it hurt. I worried about what people would think if I broke. I wanted to handle everything perfectly, so crying wasn’t an option. I refused to voice my feelings, and frustrated the people closest to me as a result.
No matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to bottle things up forever–and I was no exception. I did break. And the tears of pain and confusion were tormenting.
Sweet friend, please don’t try to untangle sticky emotions by yourself. Talk them out with someone you trust, even if nothing makes sense. Pour your heart out to God, scribble your roller-coaster thoughts down in a journal. Do everything you can to process those feelings and keep your heart open.
Transparency is healthy.
2) It’s okay to ask God questions.
…Just as long as you let Him answer.
“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide your face in times of trouble” (Psalm 10:1, ESV)?
Did you know it’s not a sin to question God?
David cried out to God pleading, “Why me?” or “How long?” numerous times. He didn’t understand God’s plans, and he wasn’t afraid to admit it. By asking questions, David opened himself to the Lord’s guidance.
It’s not wrong to ask what He’s doing.
Pleading with God and sincerely questioning Him (with the intention of accepting His answer) is a beautiful way to grow more intimate with Him. To grow in trust and admiration of Him.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, ESV).
3) Choose to surrender.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-15, NKJV).
I know, surrender hurts. It’s scary. Because letting go means allowing Him do with you what you may not wanna do.
Surrender is jumping off a cliff so God can catch you. And it is so worth the fall.
When we refuse to let go, we’re signing up to constantly wrestle with God. By refusing to let go, we set ourselves up for disappointment, because things won’t always go as planned.
Letting God take control of everything I am and have was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m no longer worried about the future. Not scared of what He’ll do. Because I’ve seen how He works when I stand back and let Him run the show. And I’m in love with this blind-folded adventure, because I know I can trust Him to do amazing things for me.
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand”(Isaiah 64:8, ESV).
4) Don’t ask God to make it easy.
I was pretty puzzled when my sweet friend, Mrs. D first told me this.
Don’t ask God to make it easy? How could I not? I’m miserable here!
But, when she explained what she meant, I couldn’t value this advice more.
“When you’re teaching piano, students struggle sometimes, right? It takes a while for them to adjust to new concepts.” She began.
“Right…” I was on the edge of my chair. And?
“I saw you teaching earlier and I noticed your student was struggling. It’s pretty tough resisting the urge to give her all the answers, isn’t it?”
I laughed. “So tough. I wish I could play everything for her so she doesn’t have to wrestle with the hard parts.”
Mrs. D leaned back in her chair and smiled gently. “And that’s just how it is with God.”
I bit my lip. Now the pieces were falling together.
“He doesn’t like to see us struggle and hurting, but He has to put us through tough situations in order to help us learn—and grow.” She thought for a few seconds and continued, “He doesn’t leave when we’re hurting—He guides. Just like you guide your piano students. God can’t make everything perfect and easy because perfect and easy doesn’t always get us where we need to be.”
Just like my piano students can’t learn if I don’t let them try the hard stuff on their own, neither will we learn if God doesn’t stand back and let us struggle a little bit. We can’t ask Him to make it easy. It’s hard enough for Him to see us suffer. Instead, we must let the Teacher be silent during the test, and trust that pain is worth the lessons. Worth the rewards.
We must let Him use our weaknesses as a chance to perfect His strength in us.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9, ESV).
I wish I learned these lessons sooner than I did, and I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t follow this advice right away. But once I did—and surrendered my heart to the King—He twisted my uncertainty and bitterness into joy and fearlessness of the future.
Monday, April 2, 2015
She (Mrs. D) said, “You are really, really happy. I can see it. You were happy before, but now I can just see the love and joy of Jesus flowing out of you.”
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
I had a pretty heart-wrenching, curing, long talk with Jesus, too. I can’t get over how He is always there. How he never, ever fails me. How He has all the answers and never carries a dead phone. He loves me and forgives me even when I’ve neglected Him at times. Forgotten to go to Him before other people. Forgotten to thank Him, instead of blame Him for my little dinky trials.
~ These journal entries were written about a year after our move to New York. There was a whole lot of stretching between Poetry and Brooklyn, but, because God intended the season change, He turned the heartache into a beautiful adventure that continues to unfold. I know He’ll do the same for you 🙂
Are you struggling with a season-transition in your life right now? I’d love to talk with you and be an encouragement in any way I can! Feel free to contact me or leave a comment below ❤