Transition's Final Word

Usually I am so immersed in what I do that I know myself only in relation to it.
— Mark Buchanan, Rest of God

Life is not all about transition. Really? Most of us who are going through the turbulent waters of change may not agree with that statement. Transition does seem all-consuming at times. Here's a few raw and random thoughts and tips as I seek to summarize my transition journey...

Laugh it off.

My wife and I recently had a good laugh together as we took stock of our physical conditions following our most recent international move. Sore feet, aching backs, and overall physical and emotional exhaustion ironically had us laughing as we compared notes. We've also shared lots of silliness and laughter at the dinner table with our kids. A sense of humor is an invaluable asset when everything in life that can shake and shift does so, sometimes all at once.

Normalize it.

Emotional and physical stress are two sides of the transition coin. The combination of the two can result in unusual manifestations. Personally, I've been known to say incoherent things and act rather strangely. While in transition's tight grip, I've had friends, colleagues and family confused and bewildered. Admit it. You can relate to my confession. It helps just to be aware, to normalize the fact that transition pushes our buttons in strange and mysterious ways.

Be Done with it.

As I sit here writing somewhere over the Atlantic I can't tell you how relieved I’m feeling. Partly because I'm prone to bouts of worry through long transitions. It feels good to be moving on to a new set of concerns. Also partly because I'm an internal processor and I'm feeling like this piece of who I am has been taxed to the limit. I've done all the processing I can handle...for now. It's time to watch some movies on the screen built into the seat in front of me and let all the processing fall by the wayside. Is that even possible? I think not.

Recover and Regroup.

I guess what I'm saying is this: After all the change and uncertainty, I'm looking forward to a little less internal work and more outward expression of what the change has wrought in me. I want to be done with transition for a while. I want to recover and regroup, partly because I know change is inevitable and it won't be long before a new kind of transition comes my way. One that is uniquely designed by God for my growth and will somehow contribute to the bigger picture that only He understands.

Maintain in the Middle.

Maintaining some semblance of routine serves as a counterweight when big changes come our way. There is no better way to maintain some degree of stability and balance than by holding on to as much normalcy as possible. It's not only about dealing with and preparing for change; it's about continuing to live life well right in the middle of it. Here's a few healthy habits which have served to keep me grounded while juggling the many balls of transition:

  • Family dinners together as much as possible, sprinkled with a good dose of laughter.
  • Friday dinner and movie dates as a couple.
  • Predictable morning routine, which for me means scripture reading, writing, walking the dog, and coffee!
  • Family game or movie night once per week.

What routines have you been able to maintain while simultaneously working through change?

By the way, thanks to my wife, children, friends, mentors and coaches who have walked this inward journey with me. God has used you to shape my character and refine my calling. It's when I'm with you, in the moment, that I feel grounded and less prone to worry about all the unknowns. 

The span between life as we intend it and life as we receive it is vast. Our true purpose is worked out in that gap. It is fashioned in the crucible of interruptions.
— Mark Buchanan, Rest of God

This transition season has been one of the longest and difficult, yet most rewarding holy interruptions of my life. A purposeful gap in between life's more predictable seasons. 

Cheering you on in your transition,

Tim