Letting Go in a Transition

In my last blog, I began to write about Thriving through Transitions.

To transition successfully you must understand what you are transitioning from to what you are transitioning to.  You must understand what is ending.  Every transition involves an ending and a beginning.  Much like a birth, transitions involve contractions or birth pangs.

When a child is born, he or she goes from a place of comfort in their mother’s womb through the traumatic experience of being squeezed through the birth canal out into a scary, new world.  They don’t realize how much this new world has to offer, how much beauty, love and adventure it holds.

During some transitions in our lives, we are like that baby.  We go from a place of comfort, through a time of contractional squeezing where things become tight in our lives, to a place that is bigger than we ever imagined.

Many times, in our transitions, we want to go back to the place of comfort, the place of familiarity not wanting that familiar season to end.  But to thrive in transition, we have to recognize what has ended and what needs to be let go off. Often, we try to hold onto something that God wants to bury.  We hold onto baggage that God is asking us to let go off.  We have such a hard time letting go of things.  We believe that we know what’s best for ourselves, what we need; yet, we don’t.  God knows what is best for us.  He knows exactly what we need.  It’s in trusting that He does know best that will ensure our successful transition.

Many times, we want to hold onto past revelation and understanding.  This keeps us from receiving new revelation and understanding.  Many Christians get stuck in this area.  They want to camp out at a particular area of practice or believe.  They haven’t realized that God has moved on.  They hang out on what God did yesterday and miss what God is wanting to do today.

We want to hold onto past victories and successes, thus living in the glory days of yesterday.  This keeps us from exploring new territory and finding new success and victory.  It’s like the middle-aged guy that always tells the story of the winning high school touchdown he scored at the district championship.  That was the shining moment of his life.  Sadly, he can’t see how other things in his life have been great things as well.  He will forever be stuck back in yesteryear because he has not transitioned forward.

Sometimes kids get stuck in this trap. They excelled at their high school then bombed at college.  They were a big fish in a small pond.  When they became a small fish in a large lake they couldn’t make the transition.  You have to change your thinking if you are going to make any transition successfully.

We want to hold on to past hurts, traumas, and tragedies.  This locks us into a victim mentality and will not allow us to go on living in the abundant life Jesus has called us to live in.  This also keeps us from being able to receive and give love as we move forward in life.  Our minds move forward but our hearts stay back.  Remember, a transition is the journey of the mind and the heart grasping a new reality.

I believe it is this last one that keeps most people trapped.  It is one thing to accept a transition of my own choosing, or even accept a transition that has been caused by my own mistakes.  However, when someone else’s choices cause me to go through a transition, it can be easy to play the victim and not take responsibility for moving my life forward.

I remember a good friend of mine once told me that I had to accept responsibility for what had happened in my life.  This was at a time when I was going through a major life transition that I did not want, nor had I caused it.  It was because of the choices of someone else.  I had done nothing wrong.  His words to me didn’t make sense at the time.  He had to walk me through the process of seeing that what happened to me was not my fault, but it was my responsibility to deal with it and the ramifications of the transition.

I wish I could say that I took his advice completely, but I often fell into the victim mentality trap.  It’s when we don’t take responsibility for our transitions that we will play the victim.

If we don’t make the transition successfully, then we will simply move on in life but not really make any forward progression.  Our minds may grasp a new reality, but it is only when our hearts grasp it as well that we make forward momentum.  Over the years I have seen many men and women begin to live in a rut because their minds had grasped a new reality, but their hearts didn’t make the transition.

That’s why getting our minds and our hearts to grasp a new reality at the same time is so important.  They couldn’t let go of past hurts, traumas, and tragedies.  Sometimes, it takes the help of a counselor or a pastor to walk you through a healing process.  That’s part of the transition.

Are you in a transitional phase in your life right now?  If so, are you holding onto anything that is keeping you from fully transitioning to the place that God is wanting to take you?  Why not ask Him?  He will show you and help you lay it down so that you can move on with your life.

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