Navigating the Transitions of Life
John Telgren

Transitions! Ugh! There was a time when it was more exciting, such as High School Graduation, going off to college, joining the Air Force, the first home, etc. But with each passing year, it gets a little harder. It will not be long before the next big transition, which will be our children leaving our home and making homes of their own.

Life is full of both transitions and changes. Transition and change are related, but not necessarily the same thing. Transition is defined as the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they become. In other words, transition is something that takes place internally. Without transitioning, a person can become stuck. Some people make external changes yet never make a "transition." Some make changes in order to avoid transitions, such as the person who bounces from marriage to marriage, yet takes along the attitudes that cause the destruction of the marriage. Or the church-hopper who hops from one church to another, looking for a church like an ideal church they were a part of in the past, only to find that their new church does not measure up. Even though they make "changes," there is no real transition; they are internally stuck and often do not want to get unstuck, so they make changes in order to avoid transition.

It is one thing to honor the past, learn from it, and transition to the next phase of your life. It is quite another to get stuck in the past. It is important to always be forward looking, to be moving forward, to embrace the future. This can be exciting, but other times it can be extremely difficult.

God has revealed that the future is ultimately positive, bright, and good. Even though we were driven from the garden in Genesis, God promises the New Jerusalem in Revelation. The powers of death, sin, and the Devil are all destroyed here and we will all live in complete security, health, and harmony.

So, why be stuck in the past? At its extreme, nostalgia equals stagnation or even death. But the Bible is future-oriented, which means that God himself is futureoriented. The past is not intended to get us stuck, but to propel us to God's bright future. So, as you look forward to what is ahead, as you prepare for the various transitions in life, do not forget the God who has laid out the hope of Christ before you. Here is some communication from God to chew on.

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’" (Jer 29:11). "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied" (1 Cor 15:19).

"Do not say, 'Why is it that the former days were better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this" (Eccl 7:10).

"Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them" (Eccl 12:1).