TRANSITION – the process or period of changing from one condition to another. Examples of transitions include:
|Accidents||Having a baby||Retirement|
|Buying a house||Relocation||Serious Illness|
|Changing jobs||Getting Married||Significant loss (of a person, pet or pastor)|
|Divorce||Selling a house|
Someone said, “This seems to be the season for church transitions.” Within the Mennonite community, there are numerous churches and organizations going through leadership changes. From the executive director of the Mennonite Education Agency to the director of Mennonite Mission Network, people are stepping down.
Although such transitions can prove difficult, they may also have a positive side. Changes provide us with an opportunity to assess the direction our lives are taking and encourage us to grow and learn. To follow are some ideas that could make a transition process rewarding.
Accept that change is a normal part of life. People who have this attitude seem to have the easiest time moving through life transitions.
Identify your values and life goals. When people know who they are and what they want from life, they may see the change as just another life challenge. These people are willing to take responsibility for their actions and do not blame others for the changes that come along without warning.
Learn to identify and express your feelings. While it’s normal to attempt to push away feelings of fear and anxiety, you will move through them more quickly if you acknowledge them. These feelings will have less power over you if you face them and express them.
Focus on the payoffs. Think about what you have learned from other life transitions. Recall the stages you went through, and identify what you gained and learned from each experience.
Don’t be in a rush. When your life is disrupted, it takes time to adjust to a new reality.
Expect to feel uncomfortable. Transition is confusing and disorienting for most people. It is normal to feel insecure and anxious. These feelings are part of the process, but they can lessen with time.
Take good care of yourself. Transitions are stressful. Find something fun to do for yourself each day. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat well.
Build your support system. Seek the help of friends and family members, especially those who accept you without judgement and allow you to express your feelings. Consider the benefit of a mental health professional who can guide you through the transition process in a safe and supportive environment.
Acknowledge what you are leaving behind. This is the first step to acceptance. Before you can welcome the new, you must acknowledge and let go of the old.
Keep some things consistent. When you are experiencing a significant life change, it may help to keep your daily routines unchanged.
Take one step at a time. To regain a sense of control, find a simple task to manage now and break it down into small, specific steps. Write these down, keep them handy, and cross off each step as you accomplish it.
“There are no perfect people; only perfect moments.” Be sure to look for them!
Ref Paraphrased from: Richard B. Joelson, DSW, Psychotherapist, Author
About the author
Gaynel was born in Michigan, raised in Mexico, went to school in Texas and now lives in Indianapolis, and works part-time at FMC. Her son and his family live in Mexico and are missionaries for Christ. She has 3 grandsons. She tries to fit in travel whenever possible and enjoys her garden.