Turning Setbacks into Switchbacks

The path leading me to meaningful work and a way to make a living from it has been a long and twisting one. What looked at the time like setbacks or defeats look to me now more like switchbacks that enabled me to gain altitude.
— Bridges, The Way of Transition

I can relate to the above quote. Central Asian mountain ranges are some of the most rugged and steep in the world. While traveling throughout that land I grew accustomed to hours of tedious climbing in order to cover the distance of just a few miles. From time to time  a detour was necessary due to a recent landslide or avalanche. The setback could delay travel plans by hours, even days. One of my personal travel setbacks can be viewed HERE

 The slow and tedious task of climbing upward is a good reminder that life is also full of steep, slow climbs, and a setback from time to time.  From one traveler to another, I confess I haven't always seen the purpose in all the twists and turns. I've often complained, Why Lord? Where is this all going?  

Here's some thoughts on why setbacks are important and how they can be leveraged as switchbacks to help us gain altitude during a transition climb:

  • Setbacks reinforce our true identity.  Feelings of failure and loss of identity are common among those of us who have wrestled with difficult transitions. Yet when we pause to reflect upon what is really important following a setback, we come to see the value God places on us as his kids, apart from achievement, reputation, title and position. Setbacks become switchbacks when we allow ourselves to be reminded of our true identity, and then take that awareness into the next challenge or opportunity before us.
  • Setbacks are good for recalibrating. Transition seasons often present us with a myriad of options to choose from as we plan our next steps. A good portion of them are simply distractions disguised as opportunities. While some may be valid options for us to consider, others just keep popping up and getting in the way, causing loss of focus. In actuality, a closed door or rejected proposal may be just what we need to re-adjust and move forward in our transition with better clarity. Setbacks become switchbacks when we allow the natural process of God's choosing and leading to unfold in His perfect yet mysterious ways.
  • Setbacks provide opportunity for inward, personal growth to catch up with outward, professional growth. Throughout certain stages of life, everything seems to coast along with little or no sign of personal or professional change. Then, sometimes gradually and sometimes all of a sudden, we find ourselves in the middle of a transition season. As we take advantage of opportunities to pray, reflect and process the change, God will use those times to deepen our spiritual roots and reinforce personal values which may have been neglected. We will begin to experience renewed vitality emotionally and spiritually, and it will feel good!

I'm curious, What setbacks of 2015 has God used to strengthen your resolve and keep you climbing in the year ahead?  Has an unexpected twist or turn thrown you off balance and into a transition tailspin? What growth agenda might God have planned for you during your current transition?

 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” -Genesis‬ ‭50:20‬ NIV

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Climb your transition with a coach HERE